Peeling the Onion: Appellate Lawyers' Take on Disparate Cases

Appellate lawyers sometimes get asked by clients and colleagues how an appellate lawyer is different from any other type of lawyer. The answers to that question are many, but one of them is that when appellate lawyers read cases to stay current, they are often reading them for a different purpose than a subjectmatter expert would.

A securities lawyer reads a case to learn what the current interpretation of securities law is. An appellate lawyer is likely interested in that question, too, but when an appellate lawyer reads a case, she is just as interested in the process.

The appellate lawyer is curious about the structure of the reasoning, recognizing that in her next environmental appeal the same court’s most recent approach to statutory interpretation in an employment dispute may prove a useful analogy.

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