September 01, 2015

So You Want to Be an Appellate Lawyer?

Brad Pauley

For those who enjoy the intellectual aspects of the practice of law, there are many good reasons to become an appellate lawyer. Working with the law, applying it to the facts of your client’s case, and taking the time to craft arguments to persuade learned jurists to rule in your client’s favor are as satisfying pursuits as the legal profession affords. That the resulting decisions often become precedent that might one day be cited by our grandchildren means that appellate lawyers can rightly be said to practice law not only for the benefit of their clients but for the public good and for posterity. When one considers the other benefits of an appellate practice, such as longer, more flexible deadlines, no discovery, and few unpleasant interactions with opposing counsel, it is easy to understand why many attorneys and law students seek to develop an appellate practice. But it cannot be gainsaid that, for most, the skills of an appellate lawyer are hard-won. Nor can it be doubted that developing an appellate practice can be a daunting challenge.

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