Monday, February 15, 2016

If at first you don't succeed

Bang your head Have you ever come up on something so difficult it feels like you're just banging your head against the wall?  Nothing you do seems to work.  Everything is out to get you to fail.  Then, just as you're about to quit...things start to fall into place.  You see vistas where once there were stumbling blocks.  All is easy sailing until...you hit the next wall and it starts all over again. 

That's kind of what the litigation process is like for a lot of people.  You file a complaint, do discovery, go to trial, everything is going relatively well and then you hit a wall - or, in the case of litigation, you lose your case.  Dang but your argument sounded so solid.  You knew you'd win.  Your friend's told you you should win.  Heck, you mother's brothers' cousin twice removed told you you should win.  But you lost.  What to do, now?  Quit?  Run away. Well, you could but some determined people move on to the appeals process.

Appealing a case is the process were people go when they don't get the result they wanted at the trial level. There are at least three key stages to the appellate process: notice of appeal, requesting the record, writing the brief, and arguing your case (optional).  The notice of appeals is critical because it is the point where you tell everyone that you're going to appeal your case.  A great resource that can help you with the notice and record stage is California Civil Appellate Practice (CEB; Notice: Chs. 7 & 10, Request Record: Ch. 9).  Other resources that can help include:
The two hardest stages of the appellate process (for many people) is the writing of the brief and arguing the case.  Luckily, your local county law library will have resources that can help you with both.  First, there's California Civil Practice: Procedure (West; Ch. 40) and then the California Rules of Court (West; Title 8 - Appellate Rules).  Also, you're going to want to check out California Civil Appellate Practice (CEB; Oral Argument, Ch. 16).  While the foregoing resources generally deal with civil appeals, one great resource we have at my law library that deals with criminal appeals is called Appeals and Writs in Criminal Cases (CEB).

So, next time you find yourself up against a wall with no seeming way forward, head on over to your local county law library and your local county Law Librarian will hook you up with whatever it is you're needing.  Yeah, we're good that way.