Specialty 2 of 3: Preparing Motions — And Appeals — At The Trial Stage
The time to lay the best foundation for a federal motion or appellate brief is long before the writing starts. Identification, development, and framing of key facts and issues should occur as early as possible — even during the pleadings stage and the formulation of discovery — with an eye towards:
- All crucial trial-level motions — motions to dismiss, summary judgment, key evidence motions, experts;
- Pre-verdict judgments and/or post-trial relief;
- Jury instructions;
- Facts, including potential mixed questions of law and fact; and
- Standards of review, if on appeal.
Obviously, trial counsel must focus on the multiple issues that occur daily during litigation and trial — issues that require full and immediate attention every day.
There is never enough time. Consequently, preparing for a distant motion — let alone an appeal — is often low on the priority list. Yet the early and sustained cultivation of key facts and issues can make the difference.
The seasoned outside attorney — the federal courts generalist-specialist described previously — adds value to trial counsel by efficiently assisting with the development of the key facts and issues, through input and communication tailored to fit trial counsel’s specific needs.