Photo 1: Detail, stair - Court of Appeals, Albany County, NY; Thomas Waterman, Library of Congress, HABS NY,1-ALB,13--2, 1936.

Photo 2: 7th Street façade, James R. Browning U.S. Court of Appeals Building; San Francisco, California; Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress, LC-DIG-highsm-10513, 2009.

Service Details

Appellate Law (Strategy, Writs, & Appeals)

The vast majority of civil litigators rarely, if ever, set foot in the state's appellate courts, so they have never developed expertise in appellate law. Just as you would never hire a general practitioner to perform cardiac surgery, it makes sense that appellate matters require well-trained and highly skilled specialists. At Manning & Kass, adept members of our Strategy, Writs, and Appeals Team handle these cases. Our team consists of 16 attorneys, four of whom are certified specialists. Our Strategy, Writs, and Appeals Team—nicknamed the “SWAT” unit—includes experts in matters pertaining to:
    • appellate litigation;
    • the Supreme Court; and
    • law and motion.

Our Strategy, Writs & Appeals Team enhances everything our litigators do in other practice areas. From assisting in devising litigation strategy at the inception of a case, to developing cogent law-and-motion strategy to maximize the potential of prevailing on dispositive and non-dispositive motions, to performing trial support and extraordinary writ back-up, our Strategy, Writs, and Appeals Team is actively involved long before a notice of appeal is ever filed.

Six attorneys on this team are certified appellate law specialists by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization, and four lawyers have been listed as Southern California Super Lawyers. Collectively, the 13 attorneys on this team have far more than 100 years of appellate experience, more than enough to match and exceed the resources that opposing counsel can bring to bear on a case.

Unlike the attorneys at appellate boutique firms, our “SWAT” lawyers can solicit the experienced perspective of any of more than 160 trial attorneys. The firm’s team-based litigation support and counsel in myriad areas of administrative, business, and civil law provides reciprocal benefits to our “SWAT” members. Our appellate lawyers also draw from their own extensive past experience as trial lawyers. Team attorneys have argued cases and prevailed at all appellate levels, including the United States and California Supreme Courts; clerked for federal judges; and taught in law schools. Experienced appellate law veterans who comingle with real-world practitioners deliver superior representation for our clients. Our team’s lawyers are engaged—on a daily basis—where the rubber meets the road.

We handle two types of appeals. First, we receive appellate cases which arise in-house. Frequently, these come in response to appeals and writs filed by our opponents after successful trial wins. We give every client an appropriate cost/benefit analysis so that they are fully informed of the legal ramifications of moving forward at all stages of the proceedings.

Secondly, many clients send us cases exclusively for the purpose of preparing an appeal or a writ. A client who faces an unfavorable jury verdict should never feel compelled to retain an overworked trial attorney or one inexperienced in this process. And sometimes a trial litigator cannot separate an intimate knowledge of the matter from what others will construe from reading the appellate record. We take a fresh look at the sustentative facts, and offer a new perspective.  

We strive to ensure that our clients have the best possible representation at all phases of a case. The simple truth is that counsel who may have superior litigation skills may or may not possess the same skill set to adequately represent a client on appeal. These same litigators may unwittingly fall prey to a staggering array of errors which can jeopardize, or be fatal to, the client’s hoped-for outcome. The best defense against such misfortune is to hire specialized appellate counsel—at the earliest possible stage. We assist many of our clients who are changing their business model to establish a pool of dedicated appellate professionals (including both claims professionals and attorneys) to oversee appellate matters. Many feel this gives them a competitive edge over their competitors.