Is an appeal just a repackaging of trial court pleadings and motions?

No. The documents filed in the trial court address a different audience, a busy trial court judge. Trial court documents typically address the factual disputes. Trial court documents are typically very light on supporting legal analysis and citation. The fundamental purpose of the trial court is to determine the facts. Seeking to reargue the facts in the appellate court is a gross mistake.


An appeal is not a new trial. An appeal is a review of what occurred in the trial court. The case on appeal is nothing like the case presented in the trial court. The issues presented to the appellate court must be about legal process, procedure, precedence, and in some cases, evolving the law. There is only one chance to make a good impression on the appellate court, the opening brief. It is from there that many appeals are be decided.


The work of appellate counsel requires rigorous original legal research and crisp written prose. An appellate brief if typically limited to about fifty pages of tightly written prose with supporting legal analysis and citation. The appellate brief is the greatest opportunity to persuade the appellate court to your favor.


More answers to frequently ask questions about appeals are available on this website. If you have additional questions, or are ready to proceed with your appeal, call Appellate Attorney William Driscoll at 978-846-5184.