Overview

Effective appellate litigation requires clarity and persuasiveness in both written and oral advocacy. It requires first-hand knowledge of the appellate courts, their customs and procedures, and a keen sense of their unwritten approaches to decision-making.  And it requires a deep and nuanced understanding of decades of legal precedents, and how best to deploy those precedents to our clients’ greatest strategic advantage. Attorneys in Foley Hoag’s Appellate Practice bring these skills to each appeal the firm handles.

Our Appellate Practice is comprised of a seasoned and respected team of appellate advocates who have represented hundreds of clients in federal and state appellate courts throughout the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the highest and intermediate appellate courts of many states. Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted appeals arising at all stages of a case, from pre-trial rulings through post-trial matters, in both criminal and civil cases. They also regularly submit briefs on behalf of amicus curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal and state appellate courts.

We devote the same level of attention and detail to every appeal we handle, regardless of client or issue.  Whether the issue involves constitutional litigation, a complex shareholder dispute, a challenge to an administrative agency decision, or a disagreement over terms of a routine contract, attorneys in Foley Hoag’s Appellate Practice recognize that every appeal is of the utmost importance to the parties involved.

At the federal level, our appellate experience includes:

  • Civil and criminal matters before the United States Courts of Appeal
    • Regular appearances in the First, Second, and D.C. Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Practice
  • Patent and Intellectual Property Matters before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Federal Amicus Practice
  • Federal Administrative Agency Appeals
  • Consultation on Federal appellate strategy

At the state level, our appellate experience includes:

  • Massachusetts Appeals Court Practice
  • State Administrative Agency Appeals
  • Consultation on State appellate strategy
  • State Supreme Court Practice
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Practice
    • Briefing and Oral Advocacy
    • Single Justice Practice
    • Direct Appellate Review and Further Appellate Review
    • Amicus Briefing

Appellate Advocacy

Foley Hoag’s Appellate Practice has the benefit of an insider’s perspective.  In addition to the experience of having successfully litigated numerous appeals, 16 of our attorneys are former appellate clerks, with five having clerked for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court or Appeals Court and eleven having clerked for U.S. Courts of Appeal. As part of our nationwide appellate practice, Foley Hoag attorneys are admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, a dozen different U.S. Courts of Appeal, and seven state Supreme Courts.  Our attorneys are also widely respected in the field of appellate law: they are contributing authors to leading appellate treatises, and routinely present at Continuing Legal Education seminars and other forums on appellate issues.

Our approach to appellate advocacy is always collaborative. We work closely with our clients and regularly consult with trial counsel—both within and outside the firm—to shape a compelling appellate strategy regardless of the result in the trial court or administrative agency below.

Amicus Representation

Effective appellate advocacy involves not just bringing or defending appeals, but understanding that appellate decisions involving other parties can establish precedents that significantly affect our clients’ businesses and interests. To maximize this strategic opportunity, our Appellate Practice regularly files amicus briefs for businesses, trade associations and advocacy organizations.

With all of our amicus briefs, we strive to present the unique perspective of our clients and their missions on the issue before the appellate court.  Our Appellate Practice attorneys also assist in organizing coalitions of amicus support, to leverage the perspective of multiple entities who share common interests.  In recent years, we have written and filed amicus briefs for clients in some of the most important cases in the appellate courts at both the federal and state levels, including the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, the availability of post-patent expiration royalty rights, same-sex marriage, and the use of race in school assignment and college admissions. 

Administrative Appeals

Foley Hoag’s Appellate Practice has a particular specialty in administrative law — appeals involving governmental actions (including regulations, permits, approvals, and other agency decisions) at the federal, state, and local levels.  Our Appellate Practice attorneys have won appeals both for private clients contesting agency actions on appeal, and for state agencies and municipalities defending against such challenges. This diversity of experience and perspective allows us to craft effective appellate strategies that give our clients the strongest likelihood of success. 

Our clients also benefit from the breadth of subject matter expertise among our Appellate Practice attorneys, since a comprehensive understanding of complex and often-technical statutes and regulations is frequently essential to a successful administrative law appeal.  Our attorneys have achieved favorable appellate decisions on administrative law topics as wide-ranging as Medicaid reimbursement, eminent domain, energy regulation, ballot question approvals, environmental protection, and urban redevelopment.