Pretrial and Trial Strategy
Shaping cases and litigation theories for trial is an important part of the appellate process. Working in collaboration with trial counsel is essential to ensuring that a favorable verdict withstands challenge or that an unfavorable verdict may be overturned. Bringing in-depth, complex litigation experience to the development of trial strategy and the litigation process is a fundamental part of the value that the Firm's appellate division brings to the table. The ability to anticipate and influence the ways in which pretrial and trial issues affect the client’s position in the longer term provides consistently positive outcomes for our clients.
During the pretrial process, the Firm's attorneys draft, respond to, and provide argument on essential motions, including motions relating to venue, class certification, summary judgment, and expert witnesses. The Firm can also play an integral role during trial by ensuring on preservation of error, crafting trial briefs, and drafting jury questionnaires, jury charges, or findings of fact and conclusions of law. After a trial has concluded, the Firm continues advocating for the client via post-trial motions and development of the appellate record.
After the trial is complete and the record is created, the next task is briefing the issues presented. Methodology and strategy in this portion of the appellate process vary depending on the Client's goals. When attempting to overturn a verdict, it is essential to understand the ideological significance of the case to the Court of Appeals in which you are litigating. Drafting questions presented in light of the Court in which you are litigating can greatly increase the probability of success. Alternatively, if the Client is seeking to uphold the verdict, it is important to phrase the issues presented in such a way that the Court will accept your position that the case was correctly decided on the basis of existing law. Thorough, logically sound, and well-developed arguments are key to success.
Appellate Oral Arguments
Not every case benefits from argument to a panel of judges. If the issues are capable of being laid out in a clear, logical order that the Judges will be able to follow, there is often no need to present the case to the panel. There are, however, many types of cases in which oral argument is of vital import to success. Most frequently, oral argument assists the panel when the Client argues for a shift in interpretation of the law, or makes a novel argument regarding interpretation or application of the law. In dealing with novelty, the Court often appreciates being able to test the limits of the theory being offered. Allowing the appellate court to test the interpretation offered may be greatly beneficial to the case.
Original Proceedings in the Court of Appeals
Original proceedings in the Courts of Appeals are technical filings subject to a separate set of rules within the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. When dealing with these writs, extensive knowledge of both the procedural rules and the appellate rules, as well as how the facts of your specific case intermingle with those rules, is essential to success.