Appellate practice is fundamentally different from trial practice and requires different strategies and a unique set of approaches, skills, and resources. The purpose of a trial is to resolve disputes of fact, but appeals are decided on the law. Trials can last for days or weeks, but appellate cases are argued in minutes. The strategies and arguments that can sway juries of laypersons can be ineffective or even counterproductive when made on appeal to panels of professional judges. An appeal is not a second chance at trial, and a successful appeal requires the crystallization of a dispute to its legal essentials.
The seasoned members of Houston Harbaugh’s Appellate Practice understand what issues and arguments make for an effective appeal. We have a thorough knowledge of appellate procedure and are intimately familiar with the rules and deadlines. We constantly work to hone our skills in written and oral advocacy. We represent clients before state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the state appellate courts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Our extensive appellate experience includes appeals related to:
- Construction and design defects
- Professional liability
- Public bidding and contracting
- Civil rights
- Estates and trusts
- Land use and zoning
- Intellectual property
- Insurance coverage
- Collections and creditors’ rights.
Houston Harbaugh’s appellate lawyers also understand that the foundation for a successful appeal must often be laid at or before trial. We can assist with pretrial and trial to help ensure that the strategies and arguments made before the trial court focus on the most promising arguments and strategies. We can advise on case strategy, assist with the preservation of issues, review briefs, draft post-trial motions, and provide strategic advice on the merits of disputes and the likely outcomes of appeals.