What is Appellate Practice?

All cases are initially tried at the trial court level; however, a party may appeal the case to a higher court known as appellate courts. The appellate attorneys at Allison & Mosby-Scott concentrate their practice on advocating cases before these appellate courts. In Illinois, appellate courts include the five District Court of Appeals and the Illinois Supreme Court. On the Federal level, appellate courts include the Federal Circuits as well as the Supreme Court of the United States.

What Do Appellate Attorneys Do?

The appellate attorneys at Allison & Mosby-Scott seek to correct errors that occurred at the trial court level, to change the law by persuading the appellate court to overturn lower court decisions or to change the interpretation of statutory law. Our attorneys review and analyze the underlying trial record and other documents; research and analyze case law; draft briefs and arguments for the appellate court; make oral arguments to the appellate court; and assist trial counsel with trial issues and preserving the record for appeal.

Why is the Appellate Brief So Important?

The importance of a well-drafted appellate brief cannot be overstated. Briefs are the back-bone of the appeal and receive greater judicial scrutiny than trial documents. While trial documents may be reviewed by the trial judge, an appellate brief will be reviewed not only by a panel of judges, but by those judges’ law clerks and staff. Appellate courts are also not under the same time pressure that trial judges are and often take more time to conduct its own legal research while evaluating an appellate brief. The appellate lawyers at Allison & Mosby-Scott have extensive experience in drafting winning appellate briefs.

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What is Oral Argument?

In some cases, the parties are allowed to engage in a dialogue with the appellate judges regarding the issues in the case. This dialogue is referred to as “oral argument.” Oral arguments occur after the appellate briefing. At Allison & Mosby-Scott, the appellate attorneys have the experience and skills to make effective and winning oral arguments which focus on the dispositive legal issues in the case.

Do I Need an Appellate Attorney at the Trial Level?

In some cases, appellate lawyers can play an important role during trial. This is especially true if it appears that there will be issues that a party will appeal. In these cases, the attorneys at Allison & Mosby-Scott will collaborate with your trial counsel on strategic and tactical matters to make sure that all applicate arguments and legal issues are preserved for appeal.

What Specific Skills Should I Look for in an Appellate Attorney?

The appellate attorneys at Allison & Mosby-Scott have a broad and practical knowledge of numerous substantive areas of law, including family law, trust and estates, business law and criminal law. They also have outstanding critical analytical skills, are very familiar with the applicable appellate procedures in state and federal courts, and have excellent persuasive writing and oral argument skills.