Appellate Practice

Appellate Practice is a whole different legal creature from transactional lawyering or trial practice/litigation. While an appeal to a higher court can originate from any area of the law, the process and procedure are quite distinct. While, as many attorneys might say, the facts and the evidence are often, if not always, the most important piece of the puzzle at the trial level; it is the law that takes center stage whenever a case is appealed to a higher court.

With very rare exception, after a trial, no new facts or evidence can be introduced, and the law is almost the only thing that matters. For this reason, a full appreciation of the subtleties of the governing law, along with the ability to effectively argue for the proper interpretation or extension of existing law, is of paramount importance.

An appellate attorney should have the ability to winnow through hundreds if not thousands of pages of statutes and case law (often from various jurisdictions) and pull from those pages the critical, if not dispositive, portions of each.

An appellate attorney must not only be able to frame the appropriate legal question or questions, research the legal issue or issues at hand, and craft a precise and persuasive legal argument; but equally, if not more importantly, an appellate attorney must also be able to communicate his or her legal position and argument to the appropriate appellate body, whether the appellate body is a federal court of appeals or The Supreme Court of the State of New Hampshire.

Perhaps the most significant tool for an appellate advocate is the history of the court -both institutional and documented. This history is the guide for the rules of statutory, constitutional, regulatory, and even contractual interpretation. The history, and thus the resulting guidance therefrom, is often unique to a particular appellate court. Lack of familiarity with the often obscure rules (which must be gleaned from a working knowledge of the history of the particular court) is perhaps the single most common pitfall for young or inexperienced attorneys.  

Having successfully appealed a number of cases at both the federal and state levels, The Munilaw Group has the experience and the knowhow to formulate the legal questions,  research the issues, craft persuasive legal arguments, and present those arguments, both in writing and to the particular appellate court at oral argument. 

Click on the Our Cases link for a brief description of some of our cases. Of course, no attorney or firm can guarantee a particular outcome in any case, and all disputes are dependent on the specific facts and circumstances of the specific case or dispute.

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