If you go to trial for your case and receive a ruling from the judge that is not in your favor, you may consider filing an appeal. In an appeal, the Court of Appeal and in some cases, the California Supreme Court, will review the trial court judge’s ruling and determine whether any errors were made. An appellate attorney at Evans Kingsbury LLP can help determine whether an appeal is right for you and if so, pursue an appeal. To learn more about our law firm’s legal services, call our office today at (707) 596-6090 or contact us online.
An appellate attorney serves several different functions. The attorney must help you understand the appellate process. An appellate attorney also must assist you in determining whether an appeal is appropriate and assess your likelihood of being successful on appeal. Finally, if you decide to proceed with an appeal, the attorney must handle the procedural aspects of the appeals process.
Understanding the Appellate Process
Handling an appeal requires a much different set of skills and experience than handling a case in front of a trial court. Therefore, not every attorney is equipped or qualified to be an appellate attorney. While a trial lawyer must focus on the discovery process and the rules of evidence, a Court of Appeal does not hear any new evidence and no new trial is held. Instead, an appellate attorney must be able to effectively point out the legal errors that the trial judge made through skilled written and/or oral advocacy. An appellate attorney must understand the specific standard of review conducted by the appellate court and the presumptions applied
by the appellate court that the trial court’s decision is correct and supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, having a lawyer who has experience handling civil appeals can be critical to the success of your appeal.
A “certified appellate specialist” is certified by the California State Bar as a specialist in civil appeals and writs, after passing a rigorous test similar to the Bar Exam and having handled a minimum number of appeals.
Determining Whether an Appeal is Appropriate in Your Case
When you are considering whether to file an appeal, you must first determine whether your order or judgment is appealable. Generally, only “final” judgments are appealable, but appealability depends upon the facts of your specific case. Next you must determine whether you have appealable issues in your case. For instance, the appellate court typically will defer to the discretion of the trial court in factual matters, but it will correct errors of law that the trial court judge made in your case. Your appellate attorney can help decide whether you have appealable issues in your case that justify an appeal.
Furthermore, your appellate attorney can explain the likelihood of success on appeal. The success rate on appeal is extremely low because the trial court is always presumed to be correct and the appellant must overcome that presumption. Therefore, an appeals lawyer can give you a good sense of how likely you are to prevail in your appeal.
Handling Your Appeal
An appeal is a lengthy process that begins with the filing of a Notice of Appeal. Next, you designate your record, or let the trial court know what documents and evidence you want to be transmitted to the appellate court for review as part of your case. It often takes some time to prepare the official record for the appellate court.
The appellant files a brief with the Court of Appeal arguing their side of the case and how the error(s) affected the outcome of the case. The other party then can file a brief in response to the appellant’s brief, typically to explain why the court’s decision was correct or why any errors that the court made would not have affected the outcome. The appellant also can file a reply brief to address the arguments made in the respondent’s brief.
Finally, the Court of Appeals will contact the parties to ask whether they want to participate in oral arguments concerning the case. If one party requests oral arguments, the court will schedule those arguments. Oral argument is advisable in most cases.
Get Legal Assistance with Your Appeal Today
Working with an experienced California appellate attorney is crucial to success on appeal. The lawyers of Evans Kingsbury LLC have represented many clients in civil appeals and writ petitions, and our track record speaks for itself. Partner Noreen Evans has been certified by the State Bar as an appellate specialist. Call an appellate lawyer at our law firm today at (707) 596-6090 or contact us online and schedule a time to discuss your legal matter.