Consistent with our view that appellate litigation requires a very different approach and different skills, we have a strict policy of not competing with trial lawyers for trial work. While this means that the vast majority of our work is in appellate courts, we are sometimes called upon to assist a client in a trial court in three main situations.
First, there are sometimes matters that arise on appeal that require related work in the trial court, such as handling post-trial motions, motions involving the record, and motions seeking to recover appellate attorney's fees.
Second, in our criminal defense practice, we occasionally take exceptionally strong collateral challenges to convictions or sentences - i.e., Rule 3.800 motions, Rule 3.850 motions, and federal habeas petitions. If a detailed evidentiary hearing is ordered, we will often look to associate a seasoned trial attorney.
Finally, in all kinds of cases, we offer various trial support services to other lawyers. For example, we are available to assist trial lawyers research and analyze key issues of law and to brief and argue dispositive motions. Effective research and briefing in the trial court can often mean the difference between ultimate success and failure on appeal.
We also provide appellate-related second-chair services during trial. A savvy, strategic-minded trial lawyer can better focus on the flow of the trial if an appellate lawyer is there to focus on issues of preserving legal issues in the record (or minimizing the chance that the opposing party's issues will be preserved).
We can also assist with the precursor to an appeal - post-trial motions. We understand the often complex issues of when post-trial motions toll the time for an appeal, when they are necessary to preserve an issue for appeal, and when they are advisable to posture an issue more favorably for appeal. Even where it is clear that the trial judge will deny a motion for new trial, retaining our firm to prepare a thorough and effective motion can improve the chances of a favorable settlement offer.