Reed Smith’s Appellate Group is recognized for winning important cases nationwide. We brief and argue cases in the United States Supreme Court, the federal courts of appeals, state supreme courts, and state intermediate appellate courts. We also work closely with clients and trial counsel to devise cost-effective litigation strategies, prepare and argue important pre-trial and post-trial motions, and ensure that issues are preserved for appeal.
Our group was founded 35 years ago and is one of the country’s first and best known appellate practices. U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers ranked the Appellate Group in Tier 1 nationally in the 2013 “Best Law Firms” rankings and recognized five of the group’s 20 members as Best Lawyers for appellate practice. Legal 500’s 2014 rankings noted our ‘excellent’ team of ‘very responsive, experienced and knowledgeable appellate lawyers.’ The group was also ranked by Chambers USA 2012 for appellate litigation in California and selected as one of the “Top Appellate Practices in California” by The Recorder. The four Practice Leaders are fellows in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and members of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers (two are former presidents). One member is a retired California Court of Appeal justice who authored thousands of appellate opinions, and another is a former superior court judge. Six members are former federal appeals court clerks; three clerked for state high court justices. Our members have been named Super Lawyers in California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Many are state-bar certified appellate specialists.
We offer a range of services depending on the needs of the client and the case and frequently enter into fixed, alternative, and contingent fee arrangements.
In The Appellate Courts
The Appellate Group has handled thousands of appellate matters—dozens each year in federal and state courts around the country—that have produced more than 600 published decisions establishing important precedents for future cases. We frequently file amicus curiae briefs on behalf of companies, organizations, and individuals whose interests may be affected by a case. Further, we are frequent participants in appellate mediation and settlement programs when our clients’ interests are more appropriately served by resolving a matter before decision.
In The Trial Courts
We apply the unique experience gleaned through our appellate endeavors to help guide litigation strategy and complex legal briefing efforts in matters pending in trial courts around the nation. Clients and trial lawyers often call us before a case is filed or at the beginning of a case for help anticipating key issues and devising legal strategies. We prepare and argue important pre-trial motions, including motions addressing pleadings, class certification, and summary judgment. At trial, we collaborate with trial counsel on the presentation of the case, the development of the factual record, the preservation of legal issues, and the drafting of instructions. When issues arise whose resolution cannot await final judgment, we handle interlocutory appeals and writ petitions. Often we are retained at the end of trial—and have achieved substantial success with motions for a new trial, damages remittitur, and judgment as a matter of law or notwithstanding the verdict. Finally, we help clients decide whether to appeal and what issues to raise, and consider potential complications that an appeal might present.
Shaping Appellate Procedure and Practice
Group members regularly publish articles on important legal developments that affect our clients. Our members teach law school and continuing legal education classes. We are members of state and federal appellate bar associations, and some group members serve on key bench-bar committees, helping to shape the rules and policies that govern appellate practice and decision-making.
Our Appellate Group has handled cases in almost every substantive area of the law, including:
- Product liability
- Financial services
- Intellectual property
- Health care
- Insurance and ERISA
- U.S. and international arbitration
- Foreign judgment enforcement
- Employment, wage and hour, and discrimination
- Tort and mass tort
- Media and First Amendment
- School and higher education law
- Election law
- Constitutional law
- Corporate governance
- Professional negligence