Federal Criminal Appeals

We represent clients in federal appeals nationwide.

Appeals are different animals from trials. Trials are all about testimony, documents, and other evidence. Appeals are about legal errors that may have occurred at the trial level. 

While appellate lawyers might be consulted during the trial process, appeals usually start at the end of a case, when a judgment is entered. The appellate attorney files a notice of appeal and begins his work when the record of appeal—the record of what happened at the trial level—is complete. The key parts of an appellate lawyer's work is finding legal error that occurred at the trial level, and drafting a brief that persuades a three-judge panel that the judgment should be vacated or otherwise modified. 

Appellate brief writing has an unusual distinction in the law: More good lawyers do it badly than just about any other aspect of professional practice.
— Allen Rubin

Appeals sometimes require oral argument. Oral argument is also quite different from a trial lawyer's jury argument. As one chief judge has said: 

"[E]motional arguments of the type designed to sway a jury generally leave us quite cold, so does the sight of counsel approaching the bench, clutching a script from which counsel does not dare look up."

Skilled appellate advocacy is like Josh Garrels's The Resistance. The appellate lawyer is the client's sole defense against the institutional authorities who may be wrong. You wouldn't want to risk your liberty or your future with an inexperienced or unskilled appellate lawyer.