Appellate Courts

Oftentimes, the case is not over when a judge or jury renders their judgment or verdict as all parties, whether in state or federal court, have a right to the first level of an appeal and may be able to seek review of an appellate decision from a state supreme court or the United States Supreme Court. As such, it is important to retain attorneys who are experienced in appellate practice even before the initial pleadings are filed in the underlying trial court as preserving one’s rights for appellate arguments is something that must be done from the outset. The attorneys at Shields | Mott work to make the appropriate trial record, identifying and preserving legal issues as they arise and crafting effective motions on substantive legal issues – before, during, and after trial.

Appellate practice involves different skills and strategic considerations than trial practice. On appeal, our attorneys shift their focus from developing and proving facts (through discovery, examining witnesses, and trial) to advancing the legal issues that decide cases. The importance of a well-crafted appellate brief cannot be exaggerated. Appellate briefs are reviewed by a panel of judges, rather than a single judge, along with those judges’ larger legal staff, under comparatively less time pressure than exists in the trial court. Our attorneys use their experience and expertise to draft appellate briefs knowing that they will receive greater judicial scrutiny than written materials prepared at trial.

Our attorneys are strong orators, who, after the appellate briefing, take advantage of the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the appellate judges regarding the issues in the case. Our appellate oral advocacy is keyed to the unique concerns of the appellate forum – we avoid emotional or fact-based pleas that may have played well before a jury, but instead focus on the dispositive legal issues, being sure to poignantly answer the judges’ questions.

Our appellate lawyers defend trial court judgments, seek review of adverse judgments, and handle applications for review. Shields | Mott attorneys have extensive experience in Louisiana appellate courts, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and have successfully litigated in several federal appellate courts across the nation. Our brief writing and oral argument skills have led to some important decisions in Louisiana — helping not only our clients but, in many instances, the surety and/or construction industry as a whole.