How to make an appellate brief more persuasive

The fastest way to make an appellate brief more persuasive

How to increase your odds on appeal

Here is the single fastest way to increase the persuasiveness of an appellate brief: Delete your last issue on appeal.

Opening briefs that raise fewer questions presented are almost without exception more persuasive than briefs that raise more. I have never read a great appellate brief that raises more than three issues. (If you know of one, send it to me). And almost all of the best briefs I’ve read raise one (or maybe two) issues.

On appeal, quantity never substitutes for quality. You need to get the appellate panel fully engaged on your matter, which requires signaling from the start that you have a real, important, issue that warrants the court’s time. When you raise five issues, you suggest to the panel that you want the appellate court to second guess everything the trial court did.

What is more, if you have that many issues, maybe you shouldn’t be appealing in the first place. If you’re more upset by a dozen close calls that seemed to go against you than with one or two glaring errors, it might be time to revisit whether you should appeal at all.

Want an independent assessment of the persuasiveness of your brief? (Or just want someone else to write it?) Check out Kastorf Law‘s appellate practice or just give us a call.

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