How to Write an Appellate Brief

Conklin Law has a detailed guide on how to write an appellate brief. Schedule a free consultation today for legal help.

How Can I Write an Appellate Brief?

The appellate brief document plays a pivotal role in the appellate process. It is a well-crafted legal document that serves as the foundation for presenting an appeal to a higher court. The purpose of the brief is to convince the higher courts to sustain or reverse the trial court’s verdict.

When a party disagrees with the decision made by a lower court, they have the opportunity to file an appeal. This brief acts as a written argument, providing a concise account of the critical facts. It also states relevant laws and persuasive reasoning supporting their position.

A well-written appellate brief highlights any erroneous application of the law and why the decision should be reversed or modified.

Following a structured and strategic approach is essential when writing an appellate brief. Conklin Law provides an in-depth guide to help you understand the basic process of writing an appellate brief. Call us for more information or representation.

Steps to Writing an Appellate Brief

Writing a compelling and convincing appellate brief takes a particular set of abilities. Your chances of winning on appeal could depend on how well your appellate brief is written. Here are tips to enable you to draft an excellent appellate brief.

Know the Reasons Why Your Client Should Succeed

Start by considering why your client should win their appeal. Your statement and facts will provide logic and precedential grounds that will strengthen your client’s case.

Create a Strong Introduction

The introduction sets the tone for a winning appellate brief. It is essential to present persuasive introduction in order to make a compelling first impression. A well-crafted introduction can be the difference between winning and losing a case. It should clearly present the issue and provide a concise overview of the arguments to be made. In an opening statement, it is crucial that you clearly state what you would like the court to do for you.

Make the Case and the Problem Simple

Many appellate briefs are intricate and contain specialized legal reasoning. It is easy to forget that your legal argument and topic must be simplified. Keep in mind that appellate judges are busy people, so you should write your brief in a simple, straightforward manner. You should also make sure that your brief is understandable and relatable.

Focus on the legal issues not the facts of the case

A lower court is responsible for evaluating the evidence and determining the facts on its own, so appellate judges defer to the factual findings of the trial court. You should not argue the facts in your brief unless a critical factual dispute is involved. However, that should be the exception. Successful appellate briefs usually attack a legal issue rather than a factual issue.

Understand the Standards for Review

Before filing your case, it is essential to know what standard of review the court will use (e.g., abuse of discretion, de novo, clear error). The standard of review determines how the court will evaluate your arguments, including the level of deference to be accorded to the trial court’s findings. Therefore, your arguments should always be drafted based on the relevant standard of review.

Recognize Unfavorable Laws and Facts

Avoid the error of hiding adverse facts or law. The court will discover the information or law you omitted. As a result, your credibility will be compromised due to the omission. Explain to the court why unfavorable facts or rules don’t affect your appeal. You will gain credibility by addressing issues of concern to the opposing party.

Present Only the Most Convincing Legal Arguments.

Choosing only a few select arguments to present is best practice. Make a list of the top legal arguments you need and narrow them down to the strongest ones. In making these arguments you should avoid attacking the lower court in your brief and oral argument.

What Laws Relate to an Appellate Brief?

According to Rule 28 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the brief must contain the following headings:

  • A disclosure statement.
  • A table of contents that has page references.
  • A table of authorities. You need to indicate cases and statutes with page references to brief pages where cited.
  • A jurisdiction statement.
  • A statement of your issues that you present for review
  • A concise statement of the facts relevant to the issues submitted for review. There must be an explanation of the relevant procedural history and a reference to the rulings that are being reviewed.
  • A summary of your argument. The argument has to contain a clear statement of your view.
  • A short conclusion with precise relief is needed in a few sentences.
  • A certificate of compliance, if needed by Rule 32(g) (1).

What Is the Key to Preparing to Write an Appellate Brief?

These are the key steps when you prepare to write an appellate brief.

  • Study the record.
  • Examine the most pertinent sections.
  • Determine your theme and the issues you will bring up or address in your brief in advance.
  • Investigate the legal framework surrounding the issues you’ve uncovered.
  • Finish the secondary research.
  • Choose the topics you want to address.
  • Make a targeted outline that meets the appellate procedure.

How Can a Seasoned Appeals Attorney Help You with Writing an Appellate Brief?

In most cases, individuals have the right to appeal a court decision, and at other times, appeals are at the appellate court’s discretion. In either situation, an experienced appellate attorney can be invaluable when drafting an appellate brief. A lawyer with experience in appellate matters is essential to effectively presenting your case to an appellate court.

A criminal appeals lawyer from Conklin Law can help in your case in the following ways :

  • Analyze your trial record.
  • Identify potential errors or issues for appeal.
  • Develop persuasive arguments that align with established legal principles.

The attorneys at our firm conduct comprehensive investigations into relevant case law and statutes to strengthen your appeal. Our team will work with you throughout the entire process to ensure you have all the facts you need to succeed.

Having worked in an appeals court, we are able to craft all compelling arguments and ensure judicial standards are met to maximize your chances of success. Additionally, we are capable of navigating the complicated procedures in appellate courts.

You can learn more about our services by scheduling an initial consultation today.

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