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New York Appeals Lawyer Tips: Choosing Between Appellate and Trial Work

February 10, 2019

What would you want to do with your career – try typical cases or argue an appeal? Would you want to be a trial lawyer or to be an appeals lawyer? Most lawyers prefer to be a trial lawyer than an appellate attorney. Their reason is that there is so much fun in building the record when doing trial cases. According to law firm site,, appealing a conviction is a complex process. That is why most lawyers prefer a difficult but straightforward practice.

Their creativity will be used to its maximum potential. If you are an appeals lawyer, you are forced to rely on cases that other lawyers have assembled, and according to them, there’s no fun in it. But there are also disadvantages in being a trial lawyer.

“Creating a record” means you need to discover every detail of the case from scratch. It will be a lot of sleepless nights, suffering through months or even years of mind-numbing boredom, at the same time, lawyers from the opponent’s side will try every trick in the book to make your life a living hell.

Building records will bring out the creativity in you, but it is tough to assemble documents without enduring the ugly side, the discovery if data and information, which can be very tedious. Appellate work, on the other hand, is discovery-free.

You will have to study the trial records to prepare for your appeal, but you can do that in the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to go through thousands of document pages, draft responses to endless document requests, and play some silly mind games that the work requires.

When you are an appeals lawyer, you don’t also need to endure the insults and assaults from the opponent’s legal counsel. If you are a trial lawyer, you and the other side’s lawyer will spend a lot of days locked in a conference room defending and taking depositions.

Depositions don’t have a referee, and the prospect of daily engagement in a hand-to-hand combat without any mediator is not fun at all. Although you don’t make all the records when handling the appeal, you will make appellate arguments.

Crafting the arguments will involve going through some documents, not as many as what trial lawyers are sifting through, and it is not a tedious task. Thinking about the reviews: selecting arguments that you will be making, identifying unclear legal problems, as well as preparing and delivering convincing oral arguments, are all exciting tasks. The work of an appeals lawyer can offer a lot of fuel to your creative desires. To know more about oral arguments in the United States, click here.

If trials don’t happen, do appellate arguments still happen?

The answer is yes, they still do. But you will have to be an outstanding and unique appeals lawyer to build a practice around handling appeals. Not like most pretrial jobs, appeals work comes in small, precise portions. Handling appeal cases require a very few attorneys, working a small number of hours.

It is hard to fill the entire career or entire year with relatively bite-sized businesses. That is why a lot of firms do not practice appellate. Instead, they have motions and appellate practices, which reflects the how the appeals lawyers spend their time briefing legal problems in trial court and not handling appeal cases. It can be fun, but don’t assume that your legal career as an appeals lawyer will give you more time in appellate courts. 

Follow what your heart tells you

Legal works will occupy most of the lawyer’s time, and it is imperative to look forward to what you are going to do most of the day, So, you need to choose carefully between appellate or trial work based on the type of job you love. But you need to consider everything that is mentioned above, so you will know what you are getting into.