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Providing Trial Support in Florida Civil Matters

How preserving error at trial is critical to success on appeal

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 to be made on appeal. Questioning by the appellate lawyers, however, would 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.

The following are just a few examples of how steps not taken during a trial can adversely impact an appeal. For one, no points may be made on appeal about jury instructions unless the appealing party filed with the trial court its own set of what it claimed to be the correct instructions. Also, failure to raise directed verdict motions at all required points could waive the issue for appeal. Additionally, arguments made on 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 – already stretched thin during trials with long days and nights preparing for multiple witnesses, keeping track of exhibits, 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 as appellate lawyers to provide trial support to make sure that all potential arguments would be preserved for appeal.

Comprehensive support from day one of filing and throughout trial

Over time, the trial support work that appellate lawyers are capable of providing 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. Going forward, we can handle summary judgment motions, prepare jury instructions and verdict forms, prepare motions in limine, and draft trial memoranda. We are available throughout the 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 as well.

Florida Trial Support from Board-Certified Appellate Specialists

Appellate lawyers can do more than just step in when it is time to file an appeal. We view it as our job to make the lives of trial lawyers easier and less stressful. We take care of all the legal issues, so you don’t have to worry about them. As you enter complex civil litigation in the state of Florida, contact Russo Appellate Firm for strategic and effective assistance in making your case a success.

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