Many people imagine that the proceedings in federal appeals court resemble a scene in a high-powered courtroom drama. After all, The U.S. Courts of Appeals are among the highest courts in the land—only the U.S. Supreme Court ranks higher.

In reality, appeals courts handle cases much differently than a traditional jury trial. Instead of dramatic verbal arguments, attorneys fight battles primarily through the written word by exchanging a series of written legal briefs.

If you are involved in or would like to pursue a federal appeal, you should seek counsel from an attorney with experience managing appellate level cases. A knowledgeable Charleston federal appeals lawyer could take full advantage of the appeals court setting to represent your interests and work towards a positive outcome.

The Basis for an Appellate Court Decision

In a trial or hearing, the parties involved usually focus on establishing facts and evidence that presents their side of the case in the most favorable light. At the same time, lawyers make arguments to discredit or undermine evidence presented by the opposition.

In an appellate case, the process is quite different, as most of the time the facts on appeal will be accepted based on the judge’s findings at the trial. Instead, when parties appeal a decision, they usually do so on the basis of law rather than fact. Specifically, a Charleston federal appeals attorney may argue that the judge in the original case incorrectly interpreted the law or misapplied the law to the facts.

Procedure in Federal Appeals

It is essential to follow the proper procedure to succeed with a federal appeal. First, the notice of appeal must be filed within the required period—which can be quite short—and the party appealing the decision must provide proof that the notice of appeal was properly served to the other party.

Once the notice of appeal has been filed, the appeal itself may be decided entirely based on written briefs submitted by the attorneys, with no oral argument whatsoever in court. Even if the attorneys do appear before the court, they are often permitted to make only limited statements. There are no new witnesses and attorneys may not introduce additional evidence.

Accordingly, it is important to ensure that the written briefs compellingly present the case. Briefs must be carefully crafted, with each point of law or fact backed by a reference to the trial transcript or legal precedent. A seasoned federal appeals lawyer in Charleston should be able to present convincing arguments in writing—as well as verbal argument in court—to satisfy the questions or concerns of the judges hearing the appeal.

Work with an Experienced Charleston Federal Appeals Attorney

Short of argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal appeal may represent your last chance to obtain the desired outcome in a case. As such, it could be essential to work with an experienced Charleston federal appeals lawyer who understands how to craft persuasive legal briefs and take advantage of every available opportunity to influence the opinion of the court. To learn how a dedicated federal appeals lawyer could assist in your situation, call today and schedule a consultation.