It is not uncommon for trial lawyers to take on their clients' appeals. They have been on the case from the beginning and are well-versed with all details. But federal appeal lawyer Robert Sirianni experts why trial lawyers shouldn't handle appeals, even if it involves defending the trial court's decision.
"It is true that trial lawyers have detailed knowledge about the factual nuances of the case, including understanding the psyche of the witnesses, the client, and opposing counsel. But a lot of these elements could be irrelevant to the appeal," he says. Proceedings in an appellate court are much different from the events witnessed in a trial court.
An appeal lawyer can bring a fresh perspective to the case. They do not have preconceived notions about the trial or the people involved in the case, thereby opening up reasoning and opportunities that weren't examined earlier. This new insight allows appellate attorneys to offer objective advice about the merits of an appeal.
Also, skills that make an attorney excellent at the trial level could be irrelevant at an appellate court. "A trial lawyer's biggest asset is his mastery of facts, but that could be his weakness as well. Many trial lawyers end up rearguing the same facts in an appeal, trying to convince jurists to appreciate their case's merits. But an appeal lawyer could see strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities that were missed earlier," adds the appeal attorney.
Appellate attorneys are excellent at writing briefs and present their reasoning in a logical and structured manner. They know that choice of words is crucial to winning over appellate jurists. "Briefs that meander without a logical structure will likely be disregarded, and it could even be held against the client," he adds. Besides logic, correct grammar, proper citation, and sticking to relevant facts are essential.
About Brownstone Law and Robert Sirianni:
Brownstone Law specializes in appellate advocacy. They are a team of experienced appellate attorneys representing clients in civil and criminal state and federal appeals, writ petitions, amicus curiae, and post-conviction motions. The firm has locations in Washington D.C., Texas, Georgia, and Florida.
Robert Sirianni is the president and managing director of Brownstone Law. He is licensed to practice in every federal court of appeal across the United States.
To learn more, visit https://www.brownstonelaw.com/