Where does a smart appeal start? With objective information.

All too often, appeals begin because we hate to lose. We lost in the trial court, so we have to seek review from an appellate court, which will no doubt see things our way and set things straight. But this is not a good reason to appeal – all available statistics suggest that, at least in federal courts, the chance of an appellate court reversing the trial court’s judgment is pretty low.

So, does this mean you should give up? No. But it does mean that you need to understand what you’re getting yourself into when you take an appeal. And understanding what you’re getting yourself into means you need to start with some cold, hard facts. Not impressions. Not random guesses. Not overly optimistic predictions that reflect (perhaps) a desire to vindicate a loss. Cold, hard facts.

You will find some of those facts here. Welcome to Once Upon Review.

My name is Susan Schwochau. Although retired now, I was involved in handling appeals for over ten years.* Before becoming an attorney, I was an academic working in business schools, conducting research that required a thorough knowledge of statistics. I am part of what is perhaps a small group of attorneys – those who actually like math and are not afraid to crunch some numbers.

* This blog is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author.

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