October promises to be a busy month for me. In addition to my trial court cases, I’ll be arguing two appeals on foreclosure defense cases this month. These cases include a “smorgasbord” of foreclosure law issues: the right of a loan servicer to send notices required for a lender, evidentiary issues regarding what a foreclosing entity must show to prove that it complied with the required foreclosure laws, and the application of recent foreclosure law cases on other pending, related matters.
In an appeal, a party asks the appellate court to review the decisions made by the lower court (the “trial court”). An appeals court does not take evidence from witnesses or otherwise rehear the case but rather, decides whether the lower court did their job correctly. An appeals court decides whether the judge properly applied the law, such as whether the judge gave proper instructions to the jury during trial, or properly considered certain matters of evidence.
In one of my appeals, I’m representing the appellant (arguing that the lower court got the decision wrong); in the other, I’m representing the appellee (arguing that the lower court got the decision correct). Both cases involve tricky questions of law and I plan to work hard on each.
Appeals require an enormous amount of time and resources: I can easily spend 50-75 hours for an appeal and the final written product can total hundreds of written pages. The rules for appeals themselves are tricky; I know many excellent lawyers who purposely avoid appeals because of these requirements! An appeal requires the preparation of a brief (a fifty page legal document explaining the reasons why the lower court was right or wrong) and an oral argument (a 15-20 minute presentation before the judges).
In general, I have mixed feelings about people doing their own cases at the trial level. For appeals, my advice is much more clear cut: don’t do an appeal if you are not a lawyer. Appeals are too much work and too complex for someone without a legal education and training to try on their own. If you are considering appealing a case, contact me for a consultation.