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The Special Skills Needed To Succeed On Appeal

The Appellant’s Case

Appeals are difficult to win. In California, the statistical probability of reversal on appeal is about 20 percent. The recipe for improving these odds includes:

  • Careful case selection. Mr. Clausen personally evaluates each potential appeal that comes into the office and provides a frank opinion as to its merit.
  • A comprehensive knowledge of appellate procedure. This includes knowing such things as the presumptions in favor of the judgment, the applicable standards of review, the rules governing waiver of error, and the standards of prejudice that will apply to determine whether the claimed error made a difference in the outcome.
  • A thorough understanding—and a clear and concise explication—of the applicable substantive law.
  • An intimate familiarity with the record on appeal. As nearly every attorney knows, only issues of law can be raised on appeal. Nevertheless, in the majority of cases, it is the facts that drive the appeal—and the statement of facts is often the most important component of the brief. Like an effective opening statement to a jury, an effective presentation of the relevant facts leads the reader to the conclusions the appellant seeks to draw.

The Respondent’s Case

As might be expected, knowing how to prosecute an appeal provides knowledge and insight into how to effectively defend against one. Knowledge of appellate procedure, for example, arms an experienced appellate attorney with the tools necessary to identify and exploit deficiencies in the record, favorable standards of review, and an appellant’s failure to preserve issues for review.

Contact The Law Office of Gerald Clausen

Jerry Clausen has a decades-long track record of success in appellate litigation. If you need to prosecute or defend against an appeal, contact Mr. Clausen today to discuss your options and develop personalized solutions for you and your case. Schedule your consultation by calling 415-391-4475 or by filling out this secure online intake form.