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"[T]here is a difference between the skills needed in litigating a case before trial and appellate courts. Trial litigation - focusing on jury trials - requires jury arguments that are generally structured to lead ordinary people to decide something based on compelling emotional arguments. . . . Thus, the ability to evoke an emotional response is important in making jury arguments. In appellate advocacy, however, the emphasis switches and the attorney must stress the application of law to facts - keeping in mind the appellate court's concern for uniformity of the law and doing justice."
Hon. Leander Shaw, Supreme Court of Florida, 
quoted in Appellate Specialization and the Art of Appellate Advocacyby J. S. Carroll, 74-June Fla. B.J. 107 (2000) (quoting letter to author). 

"Most lawyers know little about the inner working of appeals courts. They are not aware of the practical and doctrinal factors that shape appellate review. They do not realize that a judge approaches the appeal in a way that is very different from a lawyer."
Paul R. Michel, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Effective Appellate Advocacy 24 No. 4 Litigation 19 (Summer 1998).

Below are points to consider and questions that you should be asking:
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1. Is the attorney board certified by the Attorney's State Bar Association as an "appellate specialist" or "appellate expert"?  

Many say that they handle appeals. We are highly trained appellate specialists certified by The Florida Bar as "experts" and "specialists" in appellate practice.  Only formally board certified specialists can use these titles. We write and teach on appellate practice, authoring entire chapters in books published nationally. We undergo and pass a rigorous certification examination and confidential evaluations from appellate judges and appellate practitioners confirming our expertise and ethics. We are a select few of the board certified appellate specialists (fewer than 200) out of The Florida Bar's more than 90,000 lawyers.  

Each of our board certified lawyers has received outstanding confidential judicial reviews and peer reviews, completed 45 hours of continuing legal education within three years preceding re-certification, and has passed a rigorous written examination demonstrating proficiency in the field of appellate law to justify the representation of our special appellate competence as "specialists".  Ask us.

​2. Who is really directing, researching, and briefing your appeal?

You can retain a larger firm and even pay more for greater perceived security.  But you don't know when corners are being cut, when work that should be performed by a partner is being sent to an associate, when work that should be performed by an associate is being sent to a paralegal. And you have no way of knowing whether a board certified appellate specialist is actually doing the work, or just supervising an associate on your appeal, and then reading and signing it. At EAP PLLC, you know who is running your appeal: board certified appellate specialists.  Ask us. 

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3. The Number of Years of Practice in Appellate Law?

Like physicians, lawyers become more knowledgeable and expert with time and experience.  A first-year attorney does not know as much law as a ten-year attorney, and a ten-year attorney does not know as much law as a twenty-year attorney.  Ask what year the attorney graduated from law school, what year the attorney became licensed, in what State the attorney is licensed and in what Federal Courts the attorney is admitted [licensed and admitted mean two different things], and the number of years in practice. Our firm has decades of appellate experience in Florida and in Federal Courts. Just ask us.

4. The Number and Complexity of Appeals Handled?

Stating “we handle exclusively appeals” is not the same as stating “we are experienced in handling hundreds of complex appeals”. Our firm did not just recently graduate from law school and decide to work just in appeals.  We handle complex appeals, each one different and we are an experienced appellate firm. We have handled 100s of appeals, some of them extremely complex on cutting-edge issues of law, in many substantive areas.  We also work in strategic litigation support in the trial court, not merely to preserve but to hone our appellate skills. 

You should also know that our firm is not a “copy and paste” appellate firm. Each client is different. Each appeal is unique. We learn and expand on prior appeals, but build our appellate issues and write our appellate briefs for each specific appeal to address the needs of that particular client.  Ask us.