In-House Management of Appeals

By on September 19, 2019

Executive Summary of an article written by
Svetlana K. Ivy, Harris Beach PLLC

Although larger in-house teams often include attorneys with a litigation background, managing cases on appeal can be out of the comfort zone for many. Trust your outside counsel but be aware of the potential pitfalls and common mistakes even experienced attorneys make. When an attorney lives and breathes a case through years of litigation, it often is difficult to view it objectively. Consider adding fresh eyes to the team.

If you lost in lower court, be open to reframing your arguments or abandoning some of them on them on appeal. If you won, consider that maybe you shouldn’t have.

Talk through the arguments, and their order. Once there is a draft, re-consider whether what you thought might be a throwaway point should be featured. The strongest argument at trial court may not be the strongest on appeal.

Remember that the case may go up another level or be remanded to the trial court. This is critical because arguments you make to intermediate appellate court may backfire should you win, and the opposing party seeks leave to appeal to the higher court.

Depending on the circumstances, a published appellate decision may have an impact well beyond the case at hand, whether it be for your organization or for an entire industry. Not every case warrants the same level of scrutiny or resources, but every appeal should be a collaborative process aimed at maximizing your chances of success.

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