Knowledgeable corporate counsel understand that appellate lawyers are an important part of the litigation team.  That’s especially true with litigation involving high financial stakes or important implications for future business conduct.  The best practice is to involve appellate counsel early to help mold potential appellate issues, to guide preservation of the record for appeal, and to contribute to a long-term strategy.

Once judgment is entered – after trial or by the grant of a dispositive motion – the rules of the game and the intellectual demands change.  Appellate courts are uniquely attuned to the broader impacts their rulings may have.  This means that whether they were the plaintiffs or the defendants in the trial court, businesses need experienced appellate counsel to take the lead after judgment day.  For over three decades, they’ve turned to GMSR, which has been named among the “Best Lawyers In America” for “bet the company litigation.”

Streamlining The Case 

At the trial level, complex business disputes often require a team of lawyers, sometimes including specialists with deep expertise in a particular legal area.  The trial team has many chances to explain complex legal and factual issues, often in an ongoing dialogue with the trial judge.

Appeals are different.  Now the outcome depends almost entirely on written advocacy – and for the party that prevailed at trial, on just a single brief.  By the time of oral argument – always too short, if even held – it is too late to clear up complex ideas that the briefing has not explained to generalist appellate judges.  This means parties need counsel who can avoid jargon, simplify specialized concepts, and boil the issues down to their essence.  They need counsel who can speak the language of both the appellate courts and business.

This is what GMSR does.

  • Appellate Focus.  Independent review of an issue or a judgment that’s going up on appeal – even if the trial team prevailed – is essential.  GMSR’s appellate lawyers can be objective in a way that trial lawyers, who may have invested years pursuing a particular theory of the case and who are enmeshed in factual detail, often cannot be.
  • Creativity.  GMSR is known for its creative approaches in shaping the law, mining the record for crucial facts, creating arguments premised on first principles, and finding new avenues by which to reach the desired result.
  • Hands-on, Lean Staffing.  Rarely does GMSR staff a case with more than two lawyers.  The first-chair partner is heavily involved in every aspect of the appeal, from reviewing key parts of the record to framing the issues to meticulous editing and honing of briefs.
  • Experienced Counseling.  Throughout the appellate process, GMSR coordinates closely with corporate counsel (and trial counsel, as appropriate), offering clear-eyed assessments, advice and a strategic path forward.
Understanding The Business Environment

Corporate counsel need realistic reporting of likely outcomes and options, clear budgeting guidelines, seasoned recommendations, and appellate goals that align with business realities.  GMSR lawyers understand and meet those needs.


GMSR sees the big picture. GMSR offers corporate clients objective assessments on appeal, based on a deep understanding of the limitations and opportunities of appellate review, coupled with broad perspective on the implications of appellate decisions beyond the particular case.


All kinds of corporate clients have enjoyed appellate success with GMSR. Some examples:

  • For a major real estate investment fund, the firm obtained reversal of $69 million out of an $82 million breach of contract award.
  • For the NFL, the firm obtained reversal of a new trial order in a dispute with one of the league’s teams.
  • For a trustee, the firm obtained affirmance of a court order confirming the sale of the Clippers, a professional basketball team.
  • For a major financial institution, the firm obtained reversal of a judgment for wrongful termination of in-house counsel.
  • For a consortium of leading California colleges, the firm obtained the reversal of a judgment with directions to enforce preemptive property buy-back rights worth more than $35 million.