Appellate practice requires fundamentally different skills and strategic considerations than does trial practice. Whether arguing to reverse the ruling of a trial court or to uphold a favorable trial court decision, our approach to cases is methodical and thorough. In writing, we pride ourselves on clarity and simplicity. Translating voluminous transcripts, pleadings, and orders into briefs that can persuade an appellate court is key to what we do. We aim to control the narrative — to explain not only why our clients are technically correct as a legal matter, but also why they should win.
When you decide to retain us as trial counsel, you will benefit from our extensive experience as both trial and appellate litigators. We strategize to raise all applicable arguments and make the appropriate trial record, we identify and preserve legal issues as they arise, and we craft effective substantive motions — before, during, and after trial. It is this comprehensive approach that will give you the very best opportunity for a favorable outcome.
If you are a trial attorney with a robust practice, you may find that you are not able to dedicate the time required to research, brief, and argue appellate issues. This is more likely to occur if the issues are particularly complex or unusual, or the trial transcript is extremely lengthy. When you put our appellate knowledge and experience to work for your client, you will be able to maintain focus on your trial practice. Rest assured that when you retain our services, we will scrupulously honor the relationship that you have developed with your client, and we will return your client to you when the appellate process has concluded.
For clients who retain our appellate services, we will explain the entire process to you at the outset, and then work diligently to isolate and present the very best arguments in your appeal. In other words, we determine what arguments on appeal are most likely to make the biggest difference in the outcome of your case.
In broad terms, the New Hampshire appellate process generally begins with filing a notice of appeal. After we carefully review all of the relevant trial court records, we isolate the most compelling issues to present on appeal.
It is then that the process of legal research begins, a process that can often be quite involved. We will conclude our research only when we are satisfied that we have a command of the relevant issues. It is then that we will generate a draft appellate brief. This will then be reviewed and edited, often numerous times, all in an effort to present the most effective argument on your behalf.
It is the hallmark of our practice that every argument is presented in as concise and persuasive a manner as possible. Prior to any oral argument before an appellate court, we engage in a process referred to as “mooting,” where we present the case to a panel of hand-selected attorneys. This allows us to refine our argument further and to best predict what questions may be posed by the appellate court. Of course, the usual last step in the process is the oral argument, after which the appellate court will issue its final opinion.
Your appeal is important to you, and it is important to us. Put our knowledge, experience, and tenacity to work for you. You can see some of our representative work below. To speak with us about your appeal, contact Reis & O'Keefe.
See some examples of our work here:
We also have experience in less common areas of appellate litigation, including Petitions for Writ of Certiorari. An example is Jur v. State.
For examples of our lawyers effectively advancing and preserving novel issues at the trial court level, see State v. Pierce (One of our lawyers was the trial counsel who argued that a provision in the harassment statute was unconstitutional. The issue thus preserved, the appeal was skillfully argued by a different lawyer, the statute was found to be unconstitutional, and the conviction was vacated.) and State v. Fichera (One of our lawyers was the trial counsel who argued that he was entitled to present an insanity defense on behalf of his client, the trial court disagreed, and the client was unfairly convicted. The issue thus preserved, the appeal was skillfully argued by a different lawyer, the New Hampshire Supreme Court agreed that the defense should have been entitled to present an insanity defense, and the conviction was reversed.).