Appellate Insights

GMSR’s monthly appellate insights offer concise, timely guidance on appellate issues, and tips for avoiding common pitfalls at all stages of litigation.

Apr 12, 2023 Gary J. Wax
To Gain An Edge, Control The Document

During trial, there are several opportunities to obtain an edge over opponents simply by offering to prepare or edit documents—in particular, jury instructions and verdict forms.  Here are some tips to obtain and maintain an advantage: Don’t simply submit a list of the CACI form

Mar 15, 2023 Jeffrey E. Raskin
Arbitration Appealability & Trial Court Strategy

There are many nuances when it comes to appealability of a trial court order on an arbitration award.  Those nuances dictate how and when to seek appellate review.  But it’s worth considering them earlier in the process too, so you can structure your trial court

Feb 16, 2023 Alana H. Rotter
The Judge Rejected Your Position. Now What?

Litigators concerned about preserving an argument for appeal often ask what they should do in the face of an adverse interim ruling.  For example, if the court rejects your argument that a cause of action shouldn’t go to the jury, do you forfeit review of

Jan 12, 2023 Laurie J. Hepler
What Makes a Brief Excellent?

California appellate courts draft opinions based on the briefs and their own research before they hold oral argument—and the draft almost never changes much.  So the briefs are by far your most important persuasive tool.  Don’t aim to file something merely “good.”  Instead aim to

Dec 12, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
CACI Instructions Are Not Always Correct

The Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (i.e., CACI instructions) get heavy use in California’s trial courts, both because they are convenient and because some judges insist on them.  But beware:  CACI instructions have their limits.  Those limits include: CACI instructions are not themselves

Nov 11, 2022 Laurie J. Hepler
Back to Basics on Oral Argument

Preparing for oral argument is arduous.  It requires close review of the record, the law and the briefs.  Predicting questions—both adverse and favorable—is also key.  But none of that will be much help if you can’t clearly address these basics: What is the core point

Oct 13, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
Should You File A Writ Petition?

Most interlocutory rulings are not immediately appealable in California—instead, they can be reviewed as part of an appeal from the eventual final judgment.  Litigators who receive adverse non-appealable rulings often ask whether it’s worth seeking immediate review via a writ petition.  Here are some factors

Sep 08, 2022 Laurie J. Hepler
Why and How To Slash Footnotes

Most judges hate footnotes in briefs.  Please trust us on this, because we talk about legal writing with judges and justices a lot.  Footnotes slow down a process that courts need to speed up: reading your brief and learning your main points.  Worse, many lawyers

Aug 11, 2022 Alana H. Rotter
Don’t Miss An Appealable Order

Most trial court orders are not immediately appealable—review is available only on appeal from a final judgment or via a writ petition.  But some types of orders are immediately appealable.  It’s important to identify those orders, because failing to timely appeal them forever forfeits appellate

Jul 11, 2022 Laurie J. Hepler
Handling Tentative Opinions

For years, only one appellate division in California (based in Riverside) routinely provided tentative opinions before oral arguments.  With dozens of new justices taking seats on the appellate bench around the state, however, more panels have begun to offer tentative opinions for some appeals.  Here

Who We Serve


Whether on appeal, assisting trial counsel, or advising government officials contemplating legislative action, GMSR provides unique insight into the complex laws that impact public entities.

Read More

Where coverage may exist, GMSR represents insureds on appeal effectively and efficiently. Where it does not, the firm protects insurers’ right to deny claims.

Read More

GMSR offers corporate clients objective assessments on appeal, based on a deep understanding of the limitations and opportunities of appellate review.

Read More

The firm’s lawyers are team players, collaborating with trial counsel at any level from legal strategy to writing or editing trial court motions and appellate briefs.

Read More

GMSR vigorously advocates the rights of individual plaintiffs and defendants, in both state and federal appellate courts.

Read More

As part of GMSR’s long-standing commitment to social justice and equality, GMSR provides pro bono appellate services to individuals and to community organizations on issues of concern.

Read More