Serving New Mexico
New Mexico appellate lawyer David Baake knows that litigating at the appellate level is very different from litigating at the trial level. A trial lawyer has months, even years, to develop the facts of the case and to explore different legal theories. Trial proceedings may involve numerous competing claims, a variety of parties, and vast quantities of evidence. Trial attorneys must approach their case in an exhaustive way. Every argument made by the other side, every piece of evidence, must be addressed.
The job of an appellate attorney is to survey the trial record and find one or two discrete legal questions upon which the entire case might turn. Having identified these critical legal questions, the appellate attorney gets one shot, and only one shot, to convince the appellate court that the lower court got the question wrong, and that the entire proceeding would have come out differently if the issue had been decided correctly. Appellate courts have strict page limits for appeals briefs, and generally do not allow the introduction of new evidence. Once briefing is complete, the appeals lawyer may have the opportunity to present oral argument to the court. Unlike at the trial court level, there will typically be more than one judge on an appellate court. And unlike the trail court level, where judges may give the attorney twenty minutes of uninterpreted speaking time, appellate attorneys usually have about five minutes to make their case—and often find themselves peppered with questions throughout their presentation.
Appellate advocacy is something of a paradox. On the one hand, the appellate lawyer must be an expert in distilling complex issues into two or three discrete points that will stick with the judges. On the other hand, appellate lawyers must be prepared for any question the court may ask—which means they must master the entire record of the case. Given the simultaneous need to develop exhaustive knowledge of the case and to focus with surgical precision on the critical questions it presents, New Mexico appellate attorneys may spend days or weeks preparing for an argument that lasts less than ten minutes.
Although appellate attorneys are most often called upon to appeal final rulings on their merits, they must be knowledgeable about other procedures that area available in appellate courts. In some cases, it is possible to obtain an appeal before a final judgment in the trial court, through an interlocutory appeal or a petition for writ of mandamus. Once an appeal is lodged, parties sometimes engage in preliminary litigation before the appellate court—for example, by moving to stay the ruling of the lower court or seeking to have the case transferred to a different court.
David has argued and won appeals in some of the highest courts in the country. For example, he recently briefed and argued two appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The court issued a unanimous decision in his client’s favor. Leaving no doubt that it found David’s advocacy persuasive, the Court quoted a statement David made at oral argument in its opinion. David has briefed and argued cases before other federal courts of appeals has also co-authored a petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court. David is also familiar with the procedures for obtaining interlocutory review of unfavorable pre-trial rulings, and has experience litigating motions to stay and motions to transfer before appellate courts. Whatever your issue, contact us today if you need a New Mexico appellate lawyer to appeal an unfavorable judgement, defend a favorable judgment, or assist with any other appellate matter.