Why Do I Need A State-Bar-Certified Appellate Law Specialist?

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State-Bar-Certified Appellate Law SpecialistYou may be wondering why would I consult a certified specialist in appellate law if any California lawyer can handle my client’s appeal? This is a frequently asked question.

Any attorney licensed in California is legally qualified to handle a case in California’s appellate courts.

However, less than 1% of attorneys in the state of California are certified by the State Bar as specialists in appellate law.

Here are some of the reasons to collaborate with a certified appellate law specialist in the handling of your client’s appeal:

  • A certified appellate law specialist has completed a rigorous course of experience and training in appellate practice.
  • Certified appellate law specialists in California have completed a rigorous course of experience and training in appellate practice, culminated by a special written examination, administered by the California State Bar Department of Legal Specialization. They must also renew their certification as a specialist in appellate law every five years, through an application process that requires proof that their skills have not declined.

What Do Appellate Attorneys Do?

Appellate attorneys will:

  • Analyze trial records and case law
  • Draft persuasive briefs and appellate documents
  • Advocate in appellate courts before appellate judges
  • Assist trial counsel in framing issues at trial and in preserving the record for appeal

A Fresh Perspective

Appellate counsel retained after trial will view the trial court record and evaluate potential issues on appeal from a fresh perspective, without trial counsel’s inevitable biases and preconceptions.

“Confirmation bias,” also called “confirmatory bias” or “myside bias,” denotes the tendency, as confirmed in psychological research, to “search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs . . . . “ Researchers have found that the “effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.”  (See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias )  The appellate attorney, with no intellectual or emotional investment in how the case was handled before his or her involvement, nor any preconceptions about it, approaches it with no susceptibility to the “confirmation bias” that might color trial counsel’s perceptions and opinions.

Getting Started

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have at 619-239-3295. We are here to provide you with the legal assistance you deserve.

Richard W. Weinthal is a recognized leader in appellate law in the San Diego area. He was admitted to the California bar in 1975. After practicing in nearly every area of law, he now focuses his practice on appellate consulting. He first met the rigorous standards of The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization to become a certified specialist in appellate law in 2002, and has maintained that certification continuously since then.

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