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Snyder Law, LLP | Practice Areas

Appellate Advocacy

Practice Group Leader: Barry Clifford Snyder

The firm's appellate lawyers handle both in-house appeals and appeals referred by lawyers outside the firm, as well as clients seeking experienced appellate lawyers to preserve favorable verdicts or overturn adverse rulings.

Contrary to a commonly held view that any lawyer can handle an appeal, appellate practice requires a detailed knowledge of the special procedural rules and deadlines on appeal. Appellate brief writing and oral advocacy skills are distinct from the advocacy skills needed in other areas of legal practice. Lawyers inexperienced in appellate matters can cost a client thousands of unnecessary dollars or even lose a meritorious appeal due to procedural pitfalls or inability to recognize and present the critical issues from an appellate perspective. Effective trial advocacy skills do not necessarily translate into effective appellate advocacy skills.

Trials typically take place in front of juries, who decide which witnesses are believable and which parties acted in the manner required by contract or law. Appeals call upon the advocate to make intellectual legal arguments to judges based on the established written trial record, using rules of law. Thus, use of lawyers experienced in appellate advocacy makes good sense. It often provides a fresh and more objective look at the case--the same type of look that the appellate court takes on review. It is often difficult, if not impossible, for trial attorneys to detach themselves from the intensely confrontational aspects of trial practice in order to take an objective, clinical look at the record. The ability to be more objective about the record allows the appellate lawyer to focus on the issues and arguments most likely to persuade an appellate court.

These lawyers work closely with our trial lawyers in preparation for, and trial of, cases involving novel or major issues that are likely to be reviewed by appellate courts. For example, they assist trial counsel in preparing jury instructions in order to properly frame issues for eventual appeal, and in making and preserving a proper record for appellate review.

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