No one wants to lose a court case, but sometimes this happens despite everyone’s best efforts. Appellate courts correct legal error and do not re-try a case’s facts. When the law is on your side, but the facts are not, an appeal is probably not worthwhile. But when the trial judge misapplies the law in way that negatively affects the case’s outcome, an appeal is the only way to have the bad result judicially corrected.
When faced with the prospect of an appeal, it is generally wise to enlist the help of seasoned appellate counsel. That is because handling an appeal is not a simple task for businesses. A business faced with a potential appellate issue will want to examine both the record and the law carefully to make sure it makes good sense to appeal as opposed to exploring other options. Appellate lawyers can help determine whether an appeal is a wise use of company resources.
Appellate issues should be narrowed and refined for logistical and strategic reasons. This task is more difficult than it seems. Trial courts often make many legal rulings during trial. The client may feel that all of them are critical, but only a few of them really affect the trial’s outcome. Skilled appellate counsel review the trial court record with a fresh set of eyes and help clients anticipate, develop, and simplify their appellate issues.
Special filings are required to initiate and respond to the issues raised on appeal. Once the appeal is perfected, appellate lawyers thoroughly research the relevant law and carefully prepare their client’s written arguments in the form of briefs, typically with input from trial counsel. Special rules determine the manner in which briefs are drafted, served, and filed. Sometimes the brief is a client’s only chance to persuade an appellate court. Experienced appellate counsel are essential to this process.
Oral argument, when available, provides appellate lawyers with an opportunity to answer lingering questions the appellate court may have about the client’s position. Superior appellate advocates treat oral argument as a respectful dialogue with the court and welcome questions from the bench. The skilled appellate lawyer responds to those questions candidly and directly, works to keep the key issues in focus, and cogently explains why the law requires that the lower court be reversed or affirmed.
Established more than 95 years ago, Quinlivan & Hughes ranks among the oldest and largest law practices in Central Minnesota. The full-service law firm has growing legal teams in the areas of employment law, business law, government law, insurance defense, trust and estate planning and general litigation. Our firm has experienced appellate litigators able to help your business prosecute or defend its next appeal. Learn more at Quinlivan.com.