Michigan Appellate Practice
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.
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