What is an appellate brief?

An appellate brief is a substantial legal document through which each party to the appeal argues the merits of an appeal. It is nothing like what is filed in the trial court. An appellate brief requires appellate-level legal research and writing supported by legal citation. The rules governing appellate briefs are detailed and stringent (e.g., the fifty page maximum).


Motion templates are used in the trial court. There are no appellate brief templates because each appellate brief is unique. Each appellate brief addresses the specific facts and events occurring in the trial court for that case. There are no brief drafting shortcuts for a competent appellate brief. Non-compliant briefs are subject to rejection.


Experienced appellate counsel will identify the issues for appeal and present them in light of the standard of review for each issue. The standard of review is the lens through which the appellate court will evaluate and the issue. Knowing what an appellate judge desires is critical. There is no second chance to present your case to the appellate court in which you file a brief. You must "get it right" the first time.


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.