Appellate Insights

Aug 09, 2023 Gary J. Wax
How To Use Your Appellate Lawyer During Trial

During a complex trial, there often aren’t enough hours in the day for litigators to accomplish every task.  To help alleviate your burden, consider including a lawyer with appellate expertise (sometimes called “legal issues counsel”) on your team.  Whether you win or lose at trial, they can help you properly preserve all arguments and objections to help you create a complete record for any later appeal.  Here are some specific tasks suitable for an appellate-focused team member to handle during trial:

  • Preparing or opposing motions in limine and nonsuit or directed verdict motions;
  • Drafting and opposing jury instructions and special verdict forms;
  • Drafting offers of proof, trial briefs or “pocket” briefs on specific issues – helping to guide trial judges and preserve the record more effectively than oral objections alone; and
  • Reviewing daily transcripts to ensure preservation of critical issues for appeal.

The practical message.  When the stakes call for it, integrating a lawyer with appellate expertise into a trial team lets trial counsel focus on what they do best, while ensuring the client is fully protected for the next round.