Michigan Lawyer Aaron Larson

Michigan Appellate Practice

"It is essential . . . that one write as pompously as possible, using words and phrases that have long since disappeared from normal English discourse."

- Justice Antonin Scalia's tongue-in-cheek advice to appellate lawyers.

Appellate practice requires significant skill, attention to detail, and a love for the law. Appellate lawyers must have advanced research and writing skills, and must be able to transform the most difficult legal and factual issues into elegant, logical, concise arguments.

Appeals usually follow when a party to a case believes that a trial court incorrectly applied the law, or that a finding (by a judge or jury) is not supported by the evidence. Appeals can also follow from a judge's preliminary rulings that are believed incorrect.

Appellate litigation ties in neatly with a litigation practice. It is often helpful during lower court proceedings for opposing counsel to be aware that a case may be appealed. Further, an appellate practitioner often has a better idea of how to "preserve" errors for appeal.

As strange as it may seem, the failure of an attorney to make an objection on the record at trial can cost a client the right to appeal. The purpose of an appeal is not to retry the case, but to see if the lower court proceedings were conducted properly. A trial counsel's failure to make an objection may be construed as "trial strategy." (Good trial strategy often requires attorneys to pick their battles, which may involve refraining from making certain objections. On appeal, an attorney's error may well be regarded as failed trial strategy, which rarely provides grounds for successful appeal.)

An appeal is made from the trial court "record." The record usually consists of a transcript of trial court proceedings, documents in the lower court file, and exhibits accepted during lower court proceedings. If a trial attorney does not properly "make a record" on a motion or objection, once again, that failure may hinder or prevent an appeal on that issue.


The information contained in this web site is provided as a public service. While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not legal advice or legal representation and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Because of the rapidly changing nature of the law, we make no warranty or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of information contained herein or at other sites to which we link. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of your case, information cannot substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

Nothing presented on this site establishes or should be construed as establishing an attorney-client relationship between you and Mr. Larson. No attorney-client relationship exists between you and Mr. Larson until Mr. Larson has been formally retained, or has acknowledged an attorney-client relationship in writing. You should not send any confidential information to Mr. Larson until you have received written acceptance from the firm of any legal services you may request. The content of any correspondence that you send via the Internet will not be considered confidential unless you have received such written confirmation.

Mr. Larson does not seek clients from outside of the state of Michigan. If you require legal advice, please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state. We will be happy to assist you, if possible.