Appeals and Appellate Practice
When you don't get what you want at trial, often times your only option is to appeal to a higher court. An appeal in Tennessee requires your attorney to re-examine specific points of law - and sometimes fact - from the trial court’s decision. These specific points can include rulings on a motion, the admissibility or inadmissibility of evidence, objections sustained or overruled at trial, and whether the judge or jury made the right decision based on the evidence it had against the proper rule of law that should have been applied.
The skills a lawyer needs to successfully prosecute and win an appeal are far different from the skills a lawyer needs at the original trial. To be sure, an appellate lawyer's approach, audience, and goals are very different from that of a trial lawyer. For real success, an appellate lawyer must have tremendous research, writing and speaking skills. In Tennessee, a trial lawyer's job is to speak to a judge or jury and marshal the introduction of evidence and testimony, whereas an appellate lawyer must argue points of law and applications of fact to a panel of seasoned judges chosen by the Governor and retained in public elections. Even then, those appellate judges have many written briefs to read, and a skilled appellate lawyer must be able to give life to what may otherwise be a boring recitation of a set of facts and legal rules.
Our firm has substantial experience and a strong record in appellate work. We have successfully briefed and argued cases in the Tennessee Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Supreme Court, across a broad spectrum of different practice areas and types of law. Some of our recent cases alone have covered issues ranging from the amount of damages in a dumptruck collision case, to challenges to the legitimacy of individual candidates participating in public elections and alleged deficiencies in voter registration, to a high school basketball coach's right to challenge his dismissal from the team.
Having success in an appeal is very, very difficult and requires a significantly different set of skill and abilities than an attorney needs for success in a trial court. We can offer you an individualized review of your case so we can determine if you have an appreciable chance of success if you want to appeal to a higher court.
If you are faced with a decision to appeal your lower court verdict, or if you are forced to defend an appeal taken against you, we welcome you to contact us.