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Civil Appeal Attorneys

Civil Appeals

You lost your case and want to appeal the decision or judgment. It is important to consult with an appellate attorney so that you do not miss critical deadlines imposed by the court. In a civil appeal in New York State Court, the first step your appellate attorney will take is to file a Notice of Appeal (in certain courts, additional documents, such as a Pre-argument Statement must also be filed at this time). There is a strict deadline for filing the Notice of Appeal and it is crucial that it be filed within that deadline. While some trial attorneys will file this document on behalf of their client, some do not. The Notice of Appeal is a key document in triggering the appellate process as it alerts the court that a party in the lawsuit wants to appeal the decision or judgment. If the Notice of Appeal is not filed on time, a party may be precluded from pursuing the appeal. All too often, litigants are unaware of this deadline and contact an attorney after this critical deadline has passed. 

Once the Notice of Appeal is filed, the party who is appealing the decision will be called the Appellant in the appeals court. After the Notice of Appeal is filed, the attorney for the Appellant will review the record of the case. The record includes all documents filed by the trial counsel in the lower court as well as all the documents filed by the opposing parties. Review of the record is done so that the appellate attorney can begin the process of perfecting the appeal. Perfecting the appeal is the process of reviewing the record, analyzing the legal issues that need to be presented to the appeals court and organizing all this information in an appellate brief. The appellate brief must set forth strong legal arguments supported by citations to relevant law and the record on appeal, and it must comply with the rules of the appeals court. Needless to say, an experienced civil appeals attorney is an invaluable resource for handling the appellate process.

After the Appellant’s brief is filed, the attorney for the Respondent will be able to submit an appellate brief in opposition. The Respondent is the person who is opposing the appeal, and in some jurisdictions, the Respondent is called the Appellee. The Respondent’s brief in opposition must counter the Appellant’s arguments with legal arguments supported by legal authority and the record on appeal. It also must comply with the rules of the appeals court and the deadlines set by that court. 

In response to the Respondent’s brief in opposition, the Appellant will usually file a reply brief. It is important to note that the reply brief is subject to certain limitations in its content and usually has strict page limitations imposed by the appeals court. The experienced appeals attorney knows however that the reply brief can at times be one of the most useful tools in making a persuasive legal argument before an appellate court.  

After the appeal is fully briefed, most appeals courts require oral argument at which the appellate attorney will argue the case before a panel of appellate judges. Oral argument before the appeals court requires that the lawyer arguing the appeal know all the relevant law cited in the briefs, be fully knowledgeable about the appellate record, and be able to answer all of the judge’s questions regarding the merits of the appeal and why it should be granted or denied. Unlike a trial, oral argument is governed by strict time restraints requiring an attorney be able to get to key arguments quickly and effectively so as to make a persuasive argument before the court.   

Other Issues Involving Civil Appeals

The overview labeled “Civil Appeals” is only a brief overview of the complex area of appellate law. Many civil appeals involve cross-appeals and others require motion practice in the appeals courts. These appellate issues are more complicated and are best discussed with an experienced civil appeals attorney.

Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP

136 Madison Avenue

6th Floor - #3007

New York, NY 10016

Phone: (646) 942-1798

Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP

265 Franklin Street

Suite 1702

Boston, MA 02110

Phone: (617) 959-1628

The Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP has experience in handling a wide variety of civil appeals. If you would like to speak with an appellate attorney regarding your appeal, call either the New York Office at (646) 942-1798 or the Boston Office at (617) 959-1628.

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