As one of the nation’s top firms devoted exclusively to civil appellate practice, GMSR tailors its services to the needs of each client, and the demands of each forum.

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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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What We Do


GMSR has been instrumental in developing both state and federal law—often by persuading the U.S. and California Supreme Courts to overturn lower court decisions.

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In most cases, there’s only one chance to have a loss in the trial court reversed on appeal. And for the judgment winner, one chance to defend the victory.

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GMSR strengthens a client’s trial court team by bringing the special skills to develop and hone the legal arguments that can shape outcomes.

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Across a client’s range of related matters, year in and year out, GMSR’s appellate expertise helps remedy chronic legal problems that drain productivity, profit or effectiveness.

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Substantive Expertise

Administrative Law red arrow
Representing public entities has been always been one of GMSR’s core practice areas.  As a result, GMSR's appellate lawyers have extensive experience in handling appeals that follow administrative decisions, as well as in disposing of suits brought by plaintiffs who failed to follow the available administrative procedures.  GMSR has also been on the other side of the table, successfully representing private entities challenging administrative decisions in the Court of Appeal.
Anti-SLAPP Law red arrow
California’s anti-SLAPP statute is a powerful tool. It allows the trial court to dismiss a plaintiff’s claims very early, if the claims arise from an act in furtherance of the rights of petition or free speech in connection with a public issue, unless the plaintiff can show a probability of success.  There’s been an explosion of anti-SLAPP rulings in recent years, and many of those rulings make their way to the appellate courts.  GMSR has successfully handled anti-SLAPP appeals addressing an array of issues.
Arbitration, Mediation & Settlement red arrow
Arbitration, mediation, and/or settlement discussions may help resolve a dispute more quickly and efficiently than litigation, but the results often prompt litigation and appeals.  When clients turn to these alternative dispute resolution techniques, GMSR helps them by recommending mediators or arbitrators, formulating strategy, and drafting briefs that persuasively lay out their position.  GMSR also routinely represents clients in appellate proceedings related to alternative dispute resolution.
Attorney Fees Litigation red arrow
In an era of spiraling litigation costs, the recovery of attorney fees for a client – or resistance to a potential fee claim – can become a multi-million dollar challenge.  State and federal laws governing recovery of attorney fees, and the calculation of a reasonable amount, add layers of complexity and risk.  In some cases, where the law provides for fee shifting, attorney fees can even outstrip the amount at issue in the underlying litigation.  For over 30 years, GMSR's appellate lawyers have counseled clients concerning fee claims, and successfully litigated fee issues, from trial courts to the California Supreme Court.
Business Litigation red arrow
Business litigants turn to GMSR when the stakes are high, whether it’s to preserve an important victory or to challenge an adverse decision.  GMSR has substantive experience in a range of fields including antitrust, bankruptcy, banking/lender liability, contract interpretation and enforcement, torts, trade secrets misappropriation, and unfair competition.  That experience, combined with GMSR's outside-the-box thinking and persuasive writing, ensures appellate briefs that present its clients’ case in the strongest light possible.  Savvy clients also regularly bring GMSR in long before the appellate stage to draft dispositive motions, review proposed jury instructions and verdict forms, and advise on strategy with an eye toward appeal.
Civil Procedure red arrow
Procedural issues create many traps for the unwary: Irregularities in trial court proceedings or ambiguous verdicts may require a new trial; failing to raise an objection in the trial court can foreclose appellate review of an issue; a settlement that purports to preserve the right to appeal can moot the appeal.  The list goes on and on.  GMSR is experienced in spotting procedural defects and navigating nuances that can be dispositive on appeal.  For that reason, trial counsel and clients often consult with GMSR's appellate lawyers as a case progresses, in order to maximize their chances of success in an eventual appeal. GMSR's appellate lawyers have also gotten appeals dismissed, revived litigation that should not have been dismissed, and successfully developed arguments for affirmance or reversal, all based on procedural issues.
Constitutional Law red arrow
GMSR has helped shape constitutional law, handling cutting-edge cases involving privacy, searches and seizures, due process, and the First Amendment.  In addition to extensive experience in the federal circuit courts, GMSR has also appeared repeatedly in the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years.
Contracts red arrow
A contract dispute can arise over a complex multi-page agreement or single-page letter of intent.  In either case, when a contract is breached or its terms are disputed, GMSR's appellate lawyers step in to preserve and defend their clients' interests on appeal.  GMSR's appellate lawyers have extensive experience – representing both plaintiffs and defendants, involving both personal and business contracts – in which they have been successful in attacking a trial court's erroneous interpretation of a contract's terms or defending against an adversary's erroneous contract construction.
Entertainment Law red arrow
GMSR has successfully represented parties in some of the leading California cases regarding profit participation, entertainment industry contracts, and publicity rights.
Family Law red arrow
From pre- and post-nuptial agreements to property division to spousal and child support to custody, GMSR has extensively litigated family law issues in the appellate courts.  GMSR's appellate lawyers have also assisted clients in connection with mediations or other settlement discussions, helping them to resolve disputes favorably without protracted litigation where possible.
Government Liability red arrow
GMSR has long represented public entities throughout California.  As a result, GMSR's appellate lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that these entities regularly confront, including federal civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, tort liability and immunity, land use, eminent domain, labor and employment, and education law.  GMSR's experience includes significant victories at the U.S. Supreme Court, numerous appeals, and regular consultations on trial court law-and-motion matters. GMSR partner Tim Coates also co-authored a chapter on federal civil rights liability in the CEB publication California Government Tort Liability Practice (4th ed. 2004).
Healthcare Law red arrow
GMSR represents insurers, hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers in the full range of claims facing them.  Issues that GMSR's appellate lawyers have successfully handled on appeal include claims of malpractice, elder abuse, termination of physician staff privileges, and healthcare service plan regulation.
Insurance Law red arrow
GMSR has a long history of representing insurance carriers on a wide range of issues, including first- and third-party coverage, excess insurance, contribution and allocation claims, as well as bad faith liability issues, such as Brandt fee questions and punitive damages.  GMSR's appellate lawyers regularly use this experience to assist clients in all facets of the appellate process.  The firm also counsels both carriers and policyholders regarding their potential liabilities and rights.
Intellectual Property red arrow
GMSR's appellate lawyers are well acquainted with the issues surrounding copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and the right of publicity.  GMSR handles appeals both for intellectual property owners protecting their rights and for defendants alleged to have violated the rights of another.  The firm has also helped make important case law on standing and burdens of proof in the intellectual property arena, as well as on substantive matters.
Labor & Employment/Agency red arrow
Clients regularly turn to GMSR's appellate lawyers for help resolving thorny labor and employment issues.  The firm has prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court on a significant issue of workplace privacy and in the California Supreme Court on issues pertaining to non-competition agreements; successfully handled appeals in wage-and-hour class actions, wrongful termination, and discrimination suits; and obtained dismissals of employees' suits on procedural grounds.
Landowner Liability red arrow

When someone is injured, when pollution occurs, when fire, flooding or electric shock emanates from a property, landowners are often sued.  GMSR has broad experience in handling such issues on appeal.  It has successfully represented clients in the California Supreme Court and intermediate appellate courts in cases that have shaped the contours of the law, for example, on landowner liability for others' criminal conduct and for hiring independent contractors to work on the land, pollution liability, surface water drainage liability, and unwanted electrical current.

Lemon Law red arrow
The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, California’s lemon law, provides enhanced remedies for consumers of defective vehicles that manufacturers cannot fix and refuse to buy back.  GMSR is one of the premier law firms representing consumers in this highly specialized area of law and has secured novel rulings in state and federal appellate courts, including the California Supreme Court.  For this reason, attorneys representing consumers in lemon law cases often team with GMSR to take on car manufacturers that avoid their buy-back obligations.
Probate and Trusts red arrow
Litigation involving trusts, probate, and the interpretation of wills often presents complex substantive and procedural issues.  GMSR has successfully navigated these issues on appeal, obtaining a significant U.S. Supreme Court win regarding the scope of the "probate exception" to federal jurisdiction, a California Supreme Court win regarding a trustee's attorney-client privilege, and numerous Court of Appeal wins involving breaches of fiduciary duty and the interpretation of wills.
Professional Malfeasance red arrow
GMSR has successfully represented lawyers, accountants, trustees, and other professionals accused of a wide range of malfeasance, and we are intimately familiar the ins and outs of appeals from anti-SLAPP proceedings.
Punitive Damages red arrow
GMSR has extensive experience in addressing the propriety of punitive damages awards, both in seeking to preserve awards when they are adequately supported and in getting excessive awards reduced or eliminated.
Real Property red arrow
GMSR's clients have brought us the full gamut of real property issues, including lease disputes, lis pendens, title insurance, escrow and development agreements, and eminent domain.  In protecting our clients' interests on appeal, we have obtained important decisions in these and other areas.
Tort Litigation red arrow
GMSR's appellate work has been on the leading edge of important tort issues, running the gamut from duty to breach to causation and damages.  GMSR's substantive experience includes personal injury, property damage, fraud and misrepresentation, products liability, landowner liability, vicarious liability, defamation and invasion of privacy, and construction defects.