Clients’ views of specialized appellate counsel have evolved rapidly over the last several decades. Not long ago, clients stuck with their trial counsel on appeal, win or lose below. But now clients—and the trial lawyers representing them—recognize that using “appellate specialists” for appeals is the best practice. Particularly in must-win cases, savvy clients appreciate the importance of bringing in separate counsel for the appeal, especially after a loss but even after a win. Top-notch brief writing, a focus on big-picture legal issues and legal trends, a legal strategy revamped as a result of a fresh look at the case, and a deep understanding of how appellate judges think and what arguments are most likely to move them are just some of the many benefits that sophisticated general counsel have come to expect from appellate counsel on appeal.
To be sure, appellate counsel often work miracles, resuscitating on appeal cases that have long been dead and buried. But why wait for the appeal? It is far easier to preserve a win on appeal, than to overturn a loss. And sometimes not even the best appellate counsel can save a case that has already gone horribly awry. Yet comparatively few clients have made it a practice to bring in appellate counsel long before the case ever heads to appeal. For a host of reasons, embedding appellate counsel early on trial teams, especially in the run-up to and during trial, can improve your chances of winning not just on appeal but in the trial court and at the negotiating table. Just some of the benefits of appellate attorneys on trial teams are discussed below.
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