National Practice in Many Fields of Law
Whether the goal is to reverse an adverse ruling or protect a favorable one from reversal, the Appellate Practice Group at GRSM has the experience and talent to represent clients in a wide variety of appellate matters. Our expertise includes:
- Class actions
- Construction defect
- Discrimination and harassment
- Eminent domain and inverse condemnation
- Environmental and toxic tort
- Government contracts
- Insurance coverage and extra-contractual disputes
- Product liability
- Professional liability
- Real property and land use
- Securities regulation
- Tort litigation
Our appellate lawyers have extensive experience in state and federal courts of appeal throughout the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Appellate courts are different than trial courts and require a different kind of lawyering. As one California appellate court has observed: "Appellate work is most assuredly not the recycling of trial level points and authorities." GRSM appellate lawyers understand this, and have handled and won a wide variety of appeals. We can offer experience that appellate-only firms do not, such as deep knowledge of the substantive areas in which the firm practices. Furthermore, we can offer capabilities that many trial-oriented firms do not, such as specific appellate focus, experience and expertise.
The Differences Between Winning at Trial and Winning on an Appeal
Trial attorneys are experts at developing facts, examining witnesses, and persuading juries. Appellate attorneys develop legal arguments to persuade judges based on the record in the trial court. Our appellate attorneys are skilled in the essential task of selecting from among the many issues presented at trial those that present the best chance of success in the different forum of appellate courts. Appellate judges and justices focus on uniformity of the law, questions of law, the application of law to facts, and how the result in one case might impact future cases. Understanding and applying the distinct standards of review that apply to appellate review is different from convincing a fact-finder at trial. Appellate courts do not weigh the evidence that may carry the day at trial.
Qualifications and Focus Tailored to Appellate Practice
Our attorneys have published and lectured on key appellate matters such as brief writing, oral argument, the growing role of technology in the appellate process and the many unique procedural rules for handling writs and appeals. A number of our attorneys have served as judicial clerks or research attorneys for state and federal appellate courts.
Our understanding of the mandate of the appellate courts has led to our proven record with successful appeals, petitions for review, merits briefs, and oral arguments. We regularly conduct mock oral arguments in advance of actual oral argument at the appellate court, to which we invite in-house counsel, client representatives, and retired judges, to hone the most effective oral presentation and responses to likely questions from the bench.
Our appellate attorneys also work with trial counsel in preparing a variety of pre-trial motions (e.g., summary judgment) trial filings (e.g., evidentiary motions or jury instructions) as well as post-trial motions to build the best possible record and frame issues for appeal. Our appellate counsel can attend trial to preserve the appeal issues, and we have substantial experience in this area. We also will provide candid and objective advice to clients on the important initial question of whether to pursue an appeal or writ petition.
Finally, our attorneys have worked with teams of lawyers throughout the country to draft appellate and trial briefs, to be filed by the client's counsel in other jurisdictions. This gives the client the benefit of the depth of our appellate attorneys' experience and skill, while the client can retain its local counsel, perhaps better known in the jurisdiction. This practice of behind-the-scenes briefing has given our attorneys experience in preparing appeals in jurisdictions all around the country.