Federal, Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia Appeals
Judges, who are appointed or elected to preside over our trial courts are usually experienced and knowledgeable. They are not infallible. A judge might misapply the law in deciding, for example, which evidence is admissible or what legal instructions are to be given to the jury. They also are regularly called upon to interpret and apply new laws that have never before been the subject of a legal opinion. These decisions are subject to review by appellate courts.
The handling of an appeal, whether on behalf of a client seeking to overturn a lower court decision or a client seeking to uphold one, can be one of the most intellectually challenging tasks a lawyer undertakes. The attorney must identify and frame the issues that are to be the subject of the appeal. He or she must cull from the voluminous trial record those portions that are pertinent to the appeal, and persuade the appellate court in writing and at oral argument.
The writing of persuasive appellate briefs is a skill that takes many years to develop and perfect. Many law firms decline to handle appeals, preferring instead to refer this work to experienced specialists. Each appellate court has its own technical requirements that must be strictly observed.
Extensive and thorough legal research must be undertaken to ensure that no applicable precedent is overlooked. At oral argument, a lawyer faces rigorous questioning from a panel of experienced appellate judges. The lawyer must anticipate the questions that will be put to him and be prepared to respond without hesitation.
Over the years, our firm has successfully handled many appeals involving novel and complex legal issues. We have handled appeals not only for clients, but also for clients whose cases were tried by other lawyers who have referred the appeals to us. Our experience spans the state and federal appellate courts of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Many of the appeals we handled are the subject of published opinions that have established important precedents in such areas as insurance, administrative, motor vehicle, and Constitutional law.
In every jurisdiction, there is a very limited period, usually 30 days or less, following the entry of a judgment in which to initiate the appeals process. Therefore, if you are considering an appeal from an adverse judgment, you should contact us as soon as possible after the judgment is entered.