The word “attorney” means many different things to many different people. Attorney traditionally translate as someone who is well versed in the law. In decades past this was probably a fair translation. In today’s world this translation is about as useful as knowing that a teacher is someone who helps you learn. Just as you would not hire an English teacher to help you learn Spanish, you also need to recognize the law in which your attorney is versed. Unfortunately, simply having a law license does not equate to having the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in every type of case or every level of the process. If you are seeking advice for filing a civil or criminal appeal you need an attorney who is experienced and talented when it comes to the appellate process. Here is why you will want an appellate attorney to handle your appeal:
Not all attorneys are created equal. Reaching the appellate stage means that a defendant has been convicted, a plaintiff lost their case, or a defendant was found liable of civil wrongdoing. Basically, the trial stage did not turn out well. It also likely means that the defendant or plaintiff has an attorney; more specifically, a trial attorney. A trial attorney is versed in the nature of the trial process. During the trial process evidence is introduced, witnesses are questioned, and objections are made. During the appellate process none of this occurs. The arguments will be based on a miscarriage of law, not on new evidence. Specializing in appeals is an entirely different ball game.
California courts have recognized the importance of appellate attorneys. Appeals are based partially on written briefs and partially on oral arguments. The appellate brief presents the foundation of the argument and must include all arguments the attorney wishes the court to consider. “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.” California appellate judges know that successful appeals require specialized attorneys.
Trial lawyers can develop tunnel vision. Trials require a specialized set of skills and happen in real time. Regardless of the amount of preparation a trial lawyer engages in, their true performance occurs in the court room. Missing an objection could mean the difference between the right to appeal and a final judgment. Once a witness has completed their testimony a trial lawyer might miss their opportunity to re-examine them on the stand. Appeals are based almost completely on preparation. This means the appellate lawyer must know how to prepare and recognize the mistake made during trial that will grant them the right to appeal. This is a skill unique from that of the trial lawyer’s and could be the difference between a successful appeal and simply delaying another adverse ruling.
In short, an appellate lawyer understands how to appeal cases. If you have questions about the importance of an appellate lawyer or how to file your appeal, contact the professionals at Brownstone Law today for a free consultation.