In an appeal, a higher court—an appellate or supreme court—reviews the decision of a lower court—generally a trial court or an administrative agency. Lawyers practicing in appellate practice handle the process of appealing a final judgment. This may happen in a civil or criminal case after a trial before a judge or jury, or after dismissal of a case upon disposition of a motion (such as a motion for summary judgment, in which a party has argued that there is no genuine issue of material fact in a case and that he or she is entitled to prevail as a matter of law). An appeal is typically brought before an intermediate court of appeals and, if necessary, to a supreme court.
The appellate lawyer must carefully review the lower court record to determine the grounds on which the decision can be appealed, and he or she must draft detailed written briefs that set forth the party’s position on appeal. In criminal cases, lawyers may review the record to determine whether the evidence should have been excluded as a result of improper search and seizure or whether the jury was representative of the community. Seldom will the appellate court consider issues such as the credibility of witnesses, which is left for the trial court and jury to determine. Appellate attorneys may also present oral arguments in front of the appellate court or supreme court.
An appeal is not just for those who lost a case. In some cases, fighting an appeal may be worth it even after a trial victory. If your opponent decides to appeal your case and highlights even a small mistake, the entire case and the ruling can be reversed, undoing all the time and effort you spent towards that win. An effective appellate attorney can help you counter the opposition’s arguments and articulately explain why a reversal is not merited.
For those who are not happy with the court’s ruling, working with an appellate lawyer is essential. This is your second chance to fight for the decision that you feel is fair. Our appellate attorneys can bring a fresh perspective to your case and renew crucial discussions while helping to advance the case in your favor. We have performed many successful appellate work, including a published opinion which shook the very foundation of the “only one winner” rule that has been long-held in California’s courts, after the appellate court considered the persuasive briefing and oral arguments presented by our firm. Sharif v. Mehusa, Inc. (2015) 241 Cal.App.4th 185.