Most businesses bring a civil case to court because they believe they have a good chance of winning the case. Most of the time, if you are sure you will lose, you will probably settle out of court. But what happens if you do lose in court? It does happen, and that’s why an appeals process exists.
Because losing is a possible outcome at trial, working with a lawyer who plans ahead is always a good idea. Even as you are preparing your trial case and doing everything you can for a successful outcome there, you and your lawyer might also want to begin building a strong appeal foundation should the need arise to use it.
One of the things that can be done at any stage in the case to strengthen an appeal is to document everything. An attorney with good documentation and organizational skills is less likely to miss important details when it comes time to file an appeal. Appeals success is often in the details — what seems like a single tiny detail in a trial can be the turning point of an appeal.
A second thing an attorney can help you do to set the ground for a successful appeal is to file the best pleadings. An appeals court doesn’t usually hear the witnesses again and you can’t usually introduce new information or evidence after the trial is over. Instead, the appeals court reviews the case based on its pleadings. If your attorney did a good job with pleadings, then everything needed to win an appeal should be in those documents.
Appeals are something that probably shouldn’t be approached by laymen. Working with an experienced attorney increases your change of a successful appeal greatly.
Source: American Bar Association, “Ten Practical Tips for Making Your Case Appealable,” accessed April 29, 2016