Appellate Expertise at Crabtree & Auslander
Sometimes winning an appeal begins at trial. Trial lawyers and their clients are best served by bringing in an appellate specialist if it is likely that the case is going to be appealed. In the most significant cases, it is wise to do so as early as possible to help ensure that potential issues for appeal are preserved or avoided.
An appellate specialist works carefully with trial lawyers in the trial court to assist with pleadings, dispositive pretrial motions, drafting jury instructions and verdict forms, and otherwise doing what is necessary to preserve error for appeal.
Winning on appeal
Whether on not we have been with you at trial, good appellate work does not repeat even the best trial work. As one appellate court explained: “Appellate work is most assuredly not the recycling of trial level points and authorities … For better or worse, appellate briefs receive greater judicial scrutiny than trial level points and authorities, because three judges (or maybe seven) will read them, not just one judge.” In re Marriage of Shaban, (2001) 88 Cal. App. 4th 398, 409.
Prior appellate decisions tend to take on a more complex dimension in the appellate court. A decision that a trial judge deemed binding precedent may be subject to challenge before an intermediate appellate court that is not necessarily bound by it.
We are skilled at challenging or supporting the application of precedent, statutes, and constitutional provisions to your set of facts. We also possess the research skills to command reexamination of a decision and to anticipate how an appellate court may react to a challenge to the reasoning in existing decisions.
Whether in support of a judgment or in challenge to one, appellate practice is different from trial practice, which is good reason to consider retaining an appellate attorney:
“The upshot of these considerations is that appellate practice entails rigorous original work in its own right. The appellate practitioner who takes trial level points and authorities and, without reconsideration or additional research, merely shovels them in to an appellate brief, is producing a substandard product. Rather than being a rehash of trial level points and authorities, the appellate brief offers counsel probably their best opportunity to craft work of original, professional, and, on occasion, literary value.” Id. at 409 (citations and footnote omitted).