Necessity of Appellate Counsel
Appellate work is significantly different from trial work. It is extremely detail oriented, and requires an intimate knowledge of appellate procedure and practice. Appellate work is not the recycling of trial level points and authorities. Appellate briefs receive greater judicial scrutiny than trial level points and authorities because three judges (or maybe seven) will read them. Appellate judges will have more time to study the attorney’s work product. They will also have more staff to help them identify errors in counsel’s reasoning, misstatements of law and inaccurate citations of authority, and to do original research to uncover ideas and authorities that counsel may have missed.
“[A]ppellate 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.”
In re Marriage of Shaban (2001) 88 Cal. App. 4th 398, 408-410.
Hiring separate appellate counsel confers a significant benefit. In addition to providing the best chance of success, a skilled appellate practitioner can provide objective guidance. As one appellate court stated:
“We also observe that trial attorneys who prosecute their own appeals, such as appellant, may have ‘tunnel vision.’ Having tried the case themselves, they become convinced of the merits of their cause. They may lose objectivity and would be well served by consulting and taking the advice of disinterested members of the bar, schooled in appellate practice. We suspect that had appellant done so they would have advised him not to pursue this appeal.”
Estate of Gilkison (1998) 65 Cal. App. 4th 1443, 1449-1450.
Our Appellate practice includes Appeals and Writs and Administrative Writs of Mandamus