Appeals & Advocacy

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Dickinson Wright’s Appeals & Advocacy attorneys excel in representing clients in appellate courts across the nation, and also in working with trial counsel in developing and preserving issues in anticipation of appeal. We handle appeals and writ proceedings in a variety of venues and jurisdictions, including state supreme and intermediate appellate courts, federal courts of appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court, Canadian appellate courts, and the U.S. Patent Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. In each instance, we bring together finely honed skills in written and oral advocacy with deep experience in our clients’ industries and areas of interest and the substantive law that governs them. Our goal is always to advance our client’s interests by achieving the optimal result in the immediate case while helping the client shape the longer-term development of the law.

On Appeal

Our first goal in every case is to win and obtain the best possible result for our clients. Sometimes this means preserving a success, sometimes it means overturning a defeat, and sometimes it involves a mix of the two. We counsel clients in determining whether, when, and how to seek appellate review, in light of the available procedural alternatives, applicable standards of review, and makeup of the appellate court. In addition to representing parties, we regularly prepare briefs on behalf of amici curiae (“friends of the court”), whether they are interested individuals, companies, or trade associations, to inform the courts of the factual and legal contexts and policy ramifications of the issues before them.

Our approach to advocacy involves telling a story that will resonate with appellate judges who are new to the case and have a small window for appreciating it. To do this, we identify, analyze, and distill technically complicated facts and complex legal questions and present them in a straightforward, engaging, and understandable fashion.


Beyond strong writing, effective advocacy requires knowing the industry and the relevant law. We have extensive experience in industries ranging from insurance, telecommunications, and health law to land use, state and municipal governance, and development of tribal lands. We also have extensive knowledge of fields that concern individual clients, from family law and criminal defense to personal injury. We focus on evolving areas of the law, such as patents and other intellectual property, federal and state taxation, constitutional jurisprudence, director and officer coverage, white-collar defense, ERISA, and environmental law. And we have practical experience with the kinds of make-or-break issues that affect numerous areas, including class actions, statutory damages caps, punitive damages, and jurisdictional and preemption disputes.


In the Trial Courts


The trial process often goes forward in the shadow of what may happen at the next level, particularly when the case involves matters of first impression, unsettled law, and complex facts. Our Appeals & Advocacy attorneys collaborate harmoniously with trial counsel, whether they are at Dickinson Wright or other firms, in devising and implementing the case strategy. At the trial level, we prepare and argue dispositive and procedural pretrial motions, motions in limine, trial briefs, jury instructions, and post-trial motions; we may be called on to be in the courtroom to monitor and advise on trials. We ensure that key legal issues are persuasively presented and fully preserved: the right evidence goes in, the right objections are made, and the right arguments are advanced. In that setting, our goal is to offer the client and trial counsel an independent, fresh perspective and evaluation of the merits, the proposed strategies and tactics, and the client’s prospects.

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