Courts & Judiciary
New Frontiers for the Appellate Lawyer at Trial
Innovative and groundbreaking litigators have become increasingly creative with the job description for an appellate lawyer embedded in a trial team. No longer “just” a record-protector, the appellate guru may be a persuasion consultant, brief-and-motion-writer, legal-issue-spotter, oral arguer, jury instruction ace, whiz researcher, multi-jurisdictional strategist, or any combination of these. Instead of being invited to participate in trial at the last minute (only when it becomes clear from failed settlement negotiations that a trial is sure to occur), appellate lawyers are now often recruited to join the trial team as soon as the dispute begins. And instead of focusing exclusively on posturing the case for an eventual appeal, appellate lawyers are now often focused on how to facilitate a win in the trial court, or how to avoid a trial altogether by securing favorable rulings on dispositive motions or achieving results at the motion in limine hearing that improve the chances of a settlement. Experienced embedded appellate lawyers are learning that no two trial roles are alike, and that initiative, vision, and creativity are critical to add value to a trial team. For embedded appellate lawyers looking to take their value (offered and added) to the next level, here are a few new and niche trial frontiers to consider.