Appellate advocacy is not simply a matter of re-trying a case to a different court and hoping of a better result. It is a separate discipline with its own rules and nuances, written and unwritten, which can trap the unwary and reduce or defeat any chances of obtaining a favorable result on appeal. It requires a different philosophy and approach than one would take with litigation at the trial level.
We understand that effective appellate advocacy is about careful issue selection, understanding the applicable standards of review, and having the ability to communicate and persuade through the written word. Our approach to appellate advocacy combines meticulous and thorough legal research, careful framing of the issues and uncompromising attention to detail. This approach has met with demonstrated success at the appellate level.
Our philosophy is proactive. We do not simply live appeal to appeal. We are constantly in motion in search of new ways to improve our craft – honing and developing effective briefing techniques and monitoring new cases and rules to determine current trends in appellate practice and procedure. In addition, our approach to oral argument is proactive. The oral arguments we advance have often been tested in formal or informal moot court sessions we conduct in house. This allows us to better anticipate and respond to questioning from the court.
Our practitioners are experienced appellate advocates. The majority of members in our group have served as judicial clerks in federal and state courts. Several of our members have either served or currently serve as members of the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Rules of Appellate Procedure. They are frequently presenters on the subject of appellate advocacy and persuasive legal writing. And the chair of our group, David Arrington, teaches the subject of appellate advocacy as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah College of Law.
In short, the members of our Appellate Group have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to be successful at the appellate level. They are members of our group because they have earned it through demonstrated success in appellate advocacy.
We frequently serve as appellate counsel on matters handled at the trial level by attorneys in our firm as well as matters brought to us by litigants and attorneys outside the firm. In our experience, even with cases handled internally by our firm, there is no substitute for a fresh pair of eyes in determining whether to appeal and which issues have the greatest chance of success on appeal.