Deciding to appeal an unfavorable trial court judgment or order is a serious undertaking of time and money. But a client does not have to wait until the end of trial to consult appellate counsel. Often circumstances may warrant bringing an appellate lawyer into the case much earlier than the post-trial stage. Doing so offers the potential to pay major dividends to the client’s position in the case.
As with anything that is done in the legal world, appeals do require the client’s personal and financial commitment. But appellate consulting can add cost-effective value to the litigation process. Here, we explain how Gusdorff Law provides appellate consulting to legal teams during all phases of trials.
Step 1: Subject Matter Experience and Guidance
Our firm handles appeals in a select few practice areas. Our appellate practice covers only:
The last three areas are closely interrelated. Because we limit the practice areas for which we appeal cases, we have gained extensive experience with such matters. This allows us to see, for instance, personal injury from the view that a Court of Appeal judge may take.
With this perspective we can advise trial counsel on issues including how to argue the case in light of a likely appeal, what further discovery may prevent summary judgment, and what legal issues/jury instructions to propose. One advantage of this is actively creating a potential appellate record during trial litigation either to strengthen the client’s trial victory or to create the best odds for success in the case of reversible error.
We view our relationship with trial counsel as collaborative. Both the appellate lawyer and trial lawyer play essential and unique roles in the life of a lawsuit. But it is far more cost-effective to develop and foster this relationship early. Doing so reduces the learning curve that an appellate lawyer would otherwise need to overcome. It also strengthens the client’s legal and evidentiary bases for a successful verdict.
Step 2: Advising the Client Whether to Appeal after the Trial
Once the trial ends, regardless of the reason, there is only a limited window to appeal. In California state courts, for instance, a notice of appeal must usually be filed within 60 days of service of the entry of the judgment. The question of whether to appeal will inevitably take the form of a risk-benefit analysis. As already mentioned, time, money, and other factors will need to be considered.
An experienced appellate lawyer will be able to reasonably estimate the likelihood of a successful appeal. If the client has already retained appellate counsel during trial, this step will be much easier. But even if the client doesn’t think about an appeal until after trial, appellate counsel can help with the decision.
Our firm can discuss in detail the grounds for appeal that must be demonstrated. With those in mind, we then review the trial record and outcome of the case. By doing this we can advise whether an appeal is possible and how strong it is likely to be.
Step 3: Representing the Client During the Appeal
If an appeal is allowable and advisable, we are prepared to represent the client from start to finish. Our firm handles all aspects of the appeal, from writing and filing the appellate briefs to making oral arguments. We know not only what the Court of Appeal expects to see, but the procedures and rules that govern appeals. And we do so with an eye towards maximizing the value of the client’s financial investment.
Turn to Gusdorff Law for Your Civil Appeal
Appellate clients know they can trust Gusdorff Law to effectively advocate for their interests. To get started with your appeal, or to learn more about appellate consulting, call us today.