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Young lawyer explaining The Difference Between a Trial Attorney and an Appellate Attorney

The Difference Between a Trial Attorney and an Appellate Attorney

When most people think of hiring an attorney, they only consider lawyers who work at the trial level. However, if a civil or criminal justice does not go your way and you wish to appeal, you need to consider hiring an appellate attorney to represent your interests in the case. There are fundamental differences between trial and appellate processes that can make all the difference in your appeal, so the lawyer you choose to represent you will matter a great deal. If you would like to learn more about how an appellate attorney can help in your case, call or contact The Appellate Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. 

Trial Attorneys

Trial attorneys handle all matters that occur at the first level of the judicial system. These lawyers are who you first meet with when a civil or criminal matter arises. A trial lawyer does the initial investigation into your case and manages all of the pretrial issues. This includes all aspects of discovery, such as depositions, requests for production, and interrogatories, as well as all court hearings prior to the case. A trial attorney will negotiate with the other side and try to reach a settlement. If a settlement cannot be reached, this type of lawyer will take your case to trial. At trial, your lawyer will make opening statements, examine and cross-examine witnesses, submit evidence, and make closing arguments to the judge and jury. However, once a final judgment is reached, a trial attorney’s work ends.

Appellate Attorneys

If the judgment in the trial attorney’s case is not satisfactory, the case can be appealed to the appellate court. Here, an appellate lawyer’s expertise is required. An appellate hearing is vastly different from a trial. No new evidence may be presented, no witness testimony may be presented, and no arguments may be made to a jury of your peers. An appellate hearing consists of a written brief and oral arguments to a panel of appellate judges based on what occurred at the trial level. 

The purpose of an appeal is to argue that an error occurred during the original trial in law or in substantive fact that fundamentally altered the outcome of the case. Your appellate attorney will review the trial transcript, which includes all pretrial motions, evidence, witness testimony, and judicial rulings to determine where mistakes were made. Your appellate attorney will then draft a written brief to the appellate court detailing the errors and how they impacted your case. The appellate lawyer will then make your case in oral arguments before a panel of appellate judges, who will listen and render a decision based on what is argued on both sides.

Call or Contact The Appellate Law Firm Now

Are you considering filing an appeal of your civil or criminal matter? If so, you need an experienced appellate attorney by your side to zealously advocate for your interests. Call the office or contact us today at The Appellate Law Firm to schedule a free evaluation of your appellate needs.