“I don’t understand your client,” opposing counsel once told me as I surged forward with what was plainly a losing litigation strategy. Many Americans are now expressing similar incomprehension about President Bush’s plan to continue fighting the Iraq war with a surge of 20,000 additional troops.

As an appellate specialist, I have often represented large corporate clients seeking reversal of hefty money judgments. It is my standard practice, soon after my retention, to broach the subject of settlement. The outset of the appellate process is a good time for reassessing one’s strengths and weaknesses in light of how the battle has been fought so far. One of the tasks of the appellate specialist is to advise the client of the likelihood of success or failure on appeal, and thus how best to proceed. This can point the way to a range of options.

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