Choose Proven Experience and Skill
We think the way appellate courts do
Our team is led by former Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who joined Schiff Hardin in 2009 after 17 years of distinguished service on the Georgia Supreme Court. Other team members have handled hundreds of appeals and excel at counseling clients throughout the appeal process and briefing and arguing complex legal issues at the appellate level.
| Why choose our Appellate Team? |
After 17 years of service as an appellate jurist, I am able to see and understand a case from the perspective of an appellate court judge. I simply know what works and what doesn't. These insights are helpful when devising a winning strategy for my clients.
- Hon. Leah Ward Sears, Appellate Team Leader
Have a Fresh Perspective
The attorneys on our Appellate Team know how to provide a fresh perspective in a case on appeal, carefully choosing which issues to present and how to present them. We also assess the strengths and weaknesses in the case that might not be obvious to the lawyer who worked on the case at trial, selecting the best arguments to persuade the appellate court.
| You Can Expect from Our Team: |
- A detailed strategic review of your case
- Exceptional research and writing skills
- The capacity to present the case, both orally and in writing, in a manner that appellate judges understand
- A consummate understanding of the appeal process and appellate law
- An in-depth understanding of the underlying law and issues of the case at trial
Many clients who have used another law firm at the trial level retain us for the first time at the post-trial and appellate level. Others bring us in at the trial level to provide strategic guidance for an appeal. Either way, we offer a new, outside perspective that regularly results in a positive outcome for our clients.
Develop Your Appeal Strategy as You Plan for the Initial Trial
Our attorneys frequently brief complex legal issues during a trial, both to bring brief-writing skills to bear and to ensure that arguments are properly preserved for possible appeal. Although most cases settle, our planning gives us the ability to move quickly and effectively when necessary. By planning for the possibility of appellate litigation at the beginning of a trial, we can frequently offer our clients several viable appellate strategies.
We have handled cases in virtually every area of the law, from product liability to commercial disputes and insurance to environmental matters. With one of the lowest attorney turnover rates among large U.S. law firms, our firm's stability and continuity of personnel mean the Schiff Hardin team that clients work with today will be there tomorrow and for many years to come.
Trust Our Experience
With a former appellate court judge leading a team of seasoned litigators, our experience comes from both sides of the bench. We offer assistance at all stages of an appeal. Our experience includes:
- Ongoing consultation during trial
- Assessing cases and evaluating the issues for appeal
- Taking and defending appeals as of right
- Petitions for discretionary review
- Petitions for extraordinary relief, such as mandamus relief or supervisory orders
- Post-trial motions, often prerequisites to appeals
- Summary judgment motions
- Interlocutory appeals
- "Rescue" litigation, in which clients seek our assistance after experiencing adverse litigation results
- Consultation with trial teams regarding preservation of appellate rights
- Amicus curiae briefs
- Administrative appeals
| Schiff Hardin to the Rescue |
We have strong experience with "rescue" appellate litigation, when clients lose confidence in how their current appellate lawyers handle the case.
Schiff Hardin has more than 100 lawyers with extensive experience in both trial and appellate litigation in courts throughout the United States. Our Appellate Team works closely with attorneys in numerous areas of the law and has handled a wide variety of matters, including:
- Business torts
- Civil rights
- Criminal law
- Class actions
- Commercial law
- Constitutional law
- Insurance bad faith
- Insurance coverage
- Intellectual property
- Labor and employment
- Product liability
- Real estate
- Trusts and estates
Our appellate litigation clients range from multinational public companies to small, closely-held businesses and individuals, from governmental and non-profit organizations to industry groups. We represent clients in industries as varied as pharmaceuticals, utilities, insurance, banking and finance, education, professional sports and real estate.
Notable Appellate Cases
- McCune v. Graco Children’s Products, Inc., No. 12-40147 (5th Cir. Oct. 31, 2012) (affirming jury verdict for our car-seat manufacturer client in product liability claim alleging that a car seat defect caused a child’s quadriplegia)
- Tepperwien v. Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc., ___ F.3d ___, 2011 WL 5142555 (2d Cir. Oct. 31, 2011) (affirming trial court's post-trial entry of judgment as a matter of law, overturning jury verdict on retaliation and punitive damages)
- O'Neil v. Simplicity, Inc., 574 F.3d 501 (8th Cir. 2009) (victory for our client in affirming dismissal of baby cribs product liability asserted class action)
- Ackison v. Anchor Packing Co., 120 Ohio St. 3d 228, 897 N.E.2d 1118 (Ohio 2008) (in a victory for our client and making new law, the Ohio Supreme Court held it constitutional to apply state's asbestos tort reform statute to cases that were already pending when statute became effective)
- Washington Gas Light Co. v. FERC, 532 F.3d 928 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (certificate approving new project vacated after court finds FERC failed to fully consider safety issues)
- Cavel Int'l, Inc. v. Madigan, 500 F.3d 551 (7th Cir. 2007) (upholding state statute against constitutional challenge in ruling favorable to our pro bono amicus client)
Click here for an expanded case list.