Range of Services

Our firm’s practice as "appellate counsel" embraces a wide range of services in civil matters:

Appeals on the merits. The core of our practice is handling civil appeals on the merits, whether in the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, other federal circuits, any California Court of Appeal, and any other state’s appellate courts by special admission (pro hac vice).

Amicus curiae (friend of the court) advocacy. The firm also represents businesses, individuals or advocacy organizations with a special interest in a pending appeal. Because the impact of a case often involves fundamental legal principles or social or economic issues, crafting effective amicus briefs is a special form of advocacy in which our firm has extensive experience.

Supreme court review. The firm is often retained after the first appellate decision, to prepare or oppose a petition seeking supreme court review. This, too, is a highly specialized form of advocacy in which we have extensive experience.

Publication or depublication of opinions. The firm represents litigants or other interested parties wishing to challenge a California court of appeal’s decision to make its opinion precedential or nonprecedential. This usually entails a letter to the California Supreme Court in the form of a mini-brief.

Writs and interlocutory review. A lesser known but highly important aspect of appellate practice is requesting or opposing discretionary review of an “interlocutory” trial court ruling, that is, one issued before the party may pursue an appeal as of right. Our firm has extensive experience in writ petitions and other forms of interlocutory review.

Mediation. Our firm frequently represents parties in court-sponsored or private appellate mediations, a process increasingly encouraged by the federal and state appellate courts and well-advised clients.

Appellate-related trial court advocacy. In another growing area of appellate practice, our firm works with trial counsel on matters of special consequence for a possible appeal, helping ensure the case is postured and presented as well as possible. This work includes:

  • pretrial proceedings that could adjudicate the merits of a case, such as motions for dismissal or summary judgment;
  • assistance before or during trial on theories of the case, key evidence issues, trial briefs, jury instructions, verdict forms, findings or statements of decision, and the form of the judgment;
  • all types of post-trial motions

Stay-of-judgment advocacy. Our firm also works with clients or trial counsel on the highly technical process of obtaining or opposing a stay of a judgment pending appeal. This work includes trial court motions, emergency appellate petitions, and contacting brokers or underwriters to issue a formal undertaking or bond. [Click here to see Elliot’s article, “The Other Half of Appellate Practice.”]

Appellate advice. Last but not least, we have always believed strongly in giving our clients “appellate counsel” in the sense of advice. Especially after the expense and trauma of an adverse trial result, we believe every client deserves our objective and honest opinion about a prospective appeal ― and its likely cost and other ramifications ― before plunging ahead with it.