Appellate Law

KDG's appellate attorneys are well-versed in identifying appealable judgments and discerning when statutory or common-law writs may be the only relief available. We know appeals and writs policies and procedures in various courts. We know and understand the presumptions on appeal and the standards of review, which can make or break your appeal or writ.

An appellate lawyer brings a fresh perspective to a case. As one Court of Appeal explained, new eyes are critical: "Trial attorneys who prosecute their own appeals...may have 'tunnel vision.' Having tried the case themselves, they become convinced of the merits of their cause. They may lose objectivity and would be well served by consulting and taking the advice of disinterested members of the bar, schooled in appellate practice." (Estate of Gilkinson (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1443, 1449-1450.)

New eyes are one reason to retain an appellate specialist, but equally important is the well-honed skill of an appellate lawyer: writing briefs that resonate with judges. Appeals are largely decided on the briefs, and they are decided by experienced judges-not by a jury. Appeals involve questions of law, not questions of fact. Brief writing for appellate jurists is both an art form and a skill.

A trial attorney who handles an appeal may be tempted to re-package the briefing at the trial court. But as explained by another Court of Appeal, that can be a fatal error. "Appellate work is most assuredly not the recycling of trial level points and authorities"; a lawyer "who takes trial level points and authorities and, without reconsideration or additional research, merely shovels them in to an appellate brief, is producing a substandard product." (In re Marriage of Shaban (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 398, 408-410.)

Courts of Appeal prefer that an appeal be handled by experienced appellate counsel. For aggressive representation on appeal, KDG offers the most experienced appellate attorneys in the San Joaquin Valley.

Call our Bakersfield office at 661-401-7755 or describe your issue using this online form.

Catherine E. Bennett, Senior Counsel
David J. Cooper, Partner