Jacobs & Schlesinger LLP

Appellate Litigation

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Our Philosophy

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.
— Alexander Graham Bell

We have the experience to help you in any phase of a case—from key trial proceedings through appeal to any level of the state or federal courts.


How and When Our Appellate Experts Can Help You

An appeal typically occurs after the trial has concluded (after a verdict from the jury or trial judge), or if the trial judge enters a final judgment (after granting a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment) or a final order of removal (in the immigration context). We have experience helping clients appeal unfavorable decisions or defend a winning decision against challenge by another party to the case.

But appellate litigation is not just about an appeal after the case is over. In fact, laying the groundwork for a potential later appeal in a case can be the best way to proceed in any litigation. Making the right arguments at the right time and knowing when and how to challenge or defend the court’s trial rulings can be critical to securing a favorable outcome. Preparing the right post-trial motions, often in a short timeframe, is essential. And, of course, there is the post-trial appeal itself.

We work with clients and trial counsel in assisting in all phases of the appeal or pre-appeal proceedings.


David Schlesinger

Partner, Appellate Litigation


The Components of An Appeal

There are many components of an appeal. Our clients in civil cases hire us because they understand that setting up and executing a proper case strategy throughout litigation positions them for better outcomes—by negotiating a favorable settlement in the trial court or pending appeal, winning the case through a dispositive motion, or winning the appeal outright. We also advise our clients regarding whether they can pursue interlocutory appellate proceedings or writs at various stages before a final judgment.

Our clients in immigration and criminal appeals understand the benefit of hiring an appellate expert to handle cases where their liberty or immigration status may be at risk.

Sometimes the best way to avoid a trial or settle a case is to have a strong argument for an appeal. We assist and advise our clients throughout the following stages of the litigation process:

  • Trial (researching and drafting pleadings, pretrial/evidentiary motions, jury instructions , verdict forms, findings of fact and conclusions of law in bench trials, and post-trial motions)
  • Notice of appeal (ensuring that the correct judgment and/or order is appealed from in a timely and jurisdictionally-correct manner)
  • Posting an appeal bond (civil cases)
  • Seeking bail pending appeal (extradition and criminal cases)
  • Moving for a stay of removal pending appeal (immigration cases)
  • Mediation pending appeal (potential option in federal or state court appeals)
  • Preparing the record on appeal
  • Briefing
    • Opening brief
    • Answering brief
    • Reply brief
    • Post-briefing letters updating the court about newly-issued opinions
    • Amicus briefs & letters
  • Oral argument
  • Decision
  • Post-appeal motions (Attorneys’ fees and costs)
  • Post-appeal petitions (Petitions for Panel Rehearing or Rehearing En Banc, or other further review in state supreme courts or the U.S. Supreme Court)


Trial Proceedings

Many stages of the trial proceedings—including pre-trial, trial or post-trial—can have a dramatic, and sometimes determinative, effect on the outcome of a later appeal. Clients and trial counsel often benefit from consulting with an appellate lawyer to ensure the proper foundation is established in the trial court. Having a strong record (briefs, rulings, testimony, jury instructions, verdict form, findings of fact and conclusions of law, etc.) in the trial court proceedings is the best way to develop a strong appeal.

  • Making a good record
  • Getting clear rulings from the trial judge on all motions
  • Keeping track of all motions
  • Preserving potential issues by ensuring that trial counsel interposes objections and makes required motions during certain stages of the trial proceedings
  • Reviewing the trial record and testimony for completeness and clarity
  • Making a clear record of all visual aids used in the trial proceedings
  • Jury instructions
  • Special verdict form
  • Post-trial motions


The state and federal courts allow various forms of extraordinary writs to seek immediate relief from the decision of a trial court or action/lack of action of a public agency.

We can help you determine if your case merits a writ challenge and prepare the filing, which often needs to be done on a highly-expedited timeline.

An extraordinary writ can be used to challenge agency decisions, enforce a civil right, challenge the decision of a tribunal as exceeding its jurisdiction, seek review of other judicial actions (a frequent subject of writs in California state courts is a challenge to or defense of an order certifying a class), or obtain a stay of proceedings while a writ is pending.

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Other potentially appealable decisions

Some other court orders are appealable before there is a verdict or other final decision in the case. These proceedings often are referred to as interlocutory appeals. Our team of appellate lawyers can advise on whether an order can be appealed, and help with the appeal if it is jurisdictionally cognizable.