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A Former Judge’s Perspective on the Value of Appellate Expertise

As a former circuit court judge, Alan Apte understands the importance of engaging appellate attorneys from the very start of litigation. Too often, lawyers overlook the need for specialized appellate expertise until it’s too late, putting their cases at risk on appeal. From a judge’s perspective, having a seasoned appellate lawyer present during trials or hearings is excellent lawyering. 

Watch the video to hear more from Alan Apte about how our appellate team can safeguard your case.

These professionals deeply understand the nuances that can make or break a case on appeal. Their involvement, whether as second chair or observer, helps ensure that crucial issues are preserved and the record is meticulously maintained, which is paramount, especially in civil cases. Even a simple misstep, like missing an unknown deadline, can warrant dismissal. And if an error isn’t properly preserved, even legitimate issues may be unappealable after years of work—a devastating outcome for the client.

The Invaluable Insight and Safeguarding Provided by Appellate Counsel

While some might view having appellate counsel present as anticipating judicial error, as a circuit judge, Apte welcomed the added expertise. He recognized that every ruling can impact a case’s trajectory, so having that extra set of eyes and ears was invaluable. Although all lawyers receive similar training, appellate lawyers offer specialized experience in identifying potential pitfalls and ensuring that every possible basis for appeal is preserved. In high-stakes litigation, the risks of not engaging appellate counsel early are simply too great. As Apte asserts, their expertise can make the difference between success and failure at trial and on appeal.

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