Appeals & Trial Support

Handling Appeals

From the moment it becomes known that an appeal will go forward, we are prepared to handle all of the steps necessary for processing the appeal from start to finish, whether as the party taking the appeal, the Appellant, or as the party responding to the appeal, the Appellee. We make sure that the record on appeal is properly assembled and complete, and that all deadlines are met.

Where we give your side of the case the chance to shine is in the briefing. Although appellate courts generally allow counsel to present oral argument after the briefing is complete, oral arguments rarely change the outcome of an appeal. The briefing is what will persuade the judges which party should prevail. With years and years of experience, we have learned that brief writing can, and should be, a form of art. Briefs must clear and direct, but also rich in detail where it matters. No reader likes to be bored in any context, and good briefing requires a lively and interesting presentation. A well-written brief will present a compelling case for victory, and will also anticipate all arguments that the opponent will raise, showing why they are insufficient to change the right outcome that the writer is seeking.

Presentations in appeals, whether in briefing or oral argument, must also take into account the policy considerations that enter into appellate court decisions. The appellate court needs to be shown why the result being requested is the right and fair outcome that will serve the interests of justice.

From handling hundreds of appeals following the above principles, our firm can give you the best chance of winning your appeal.

Providing Trial Support

When we started practicing law, appellate practice had just begun to be a specialized area. For the first few years, appellate lawyers would not be called in at all until the trial proceedings were over and the appeal had begun. The trial lawyers would summarize the points they wanted made on appeal. Questioning by the appellate lawyers, however, would then often lead to the discovery that various points could not be raised on appeal because they had not been properly preserved at the trial court level.

As examples, no points may be made on appeal about jury instructions unless the appealing party filed with the trial court its own set of what is claimed to be the correct instructions. Failure to raise directed verdict motions at all required points could waive the issue for appeal. Arguments made in motions in limine that were denied at the outset of the trial may be waived if not renewed at the appropriate times during trial.

After a time, trial lawyers – who are already stretched thin during trials, with long days and nights, multiple witnesses to prepare for, exhibits to keep track of, etc., etc., - grew impatient with learning that failures to follow required steps for preserving error had waived their best points for appeal. They began asking us appellate lawyers to provide trial support to make sure that all potential arguments would be preserved for appeal.

Over time, the trial support work that appellate lawyers can, and will, provide expanded. We began to get involved from the very beginnings of a case. In complex cases, we may assist in drafting the pleadings. We can handle the briefing of initial motions, e.g., dismissals, removals, and forum non conveniens or other venue challenges. Thereafter, we can handle summary judgment motions, prepare jury instructions and verdict forms, prepare motions in limine, and draft trial memoranda. We are available throughout trial to research legal issues that may come up, and then to brief the post-trial motions.

Throughout the entire trial process we are available to help anticipate and avoid problem issues, and to strategize based on experience in providing trial support in virtually every type of civil case over the years. While we certainly know how to preserve all issues for appeal, we have come to learn that the highest and best use of an appellate lawyer at the trial level is to do everything possible to make sure that the opposing side has no  appealable issues.  

We view it as our job to make trial lawyers’ lives easier and less stressful. We take care of all the legal issues so you don’t have to worry about them. 

Russo Appellate Firm, P.A. handles civil appeals in federal appellate courts nationwide and in all Florida state appellate courts.

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| Phone: 305-666-4660

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