Michael de Leeuw was featured in a Q&A held by the National Law Journal discussing Cozen O'Connor being named to the NLJ 2020 Appellate Hot List.
Cozen O’Connor’s nationally ranked appellate practice — named to the National Law Journal’s 2020 Appellate Hot List — represents clients in the U.S. Supreme Court and in federal and state appellate courts throughout the country. Our appellate lawyers help guide clients through all stages of the appellate process, but our work often begins pre-appeal. We collaborate with trial teams at all stages of litigation, including during and prior to trial, pre- and post-verdict, and throughout the appellate process.
The firm’s attorneys have successfully handled appellate matters in such diverse legal areas as constitutional law, class actions, antitrust, securities, contract law, business torts, labor and employment, medical device and drug litigation, toxic torts, intellectual property, insurance coverage, subrogation, professional liability, health care, and white collar criminal defense. Our appellate lawyers work closely with our clients, our trial teams, and experts to deliver excellent results. We also represent our clients and related trade organizations in filing amicus briefs on important issues before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts throughout the country.
There are only limited opportunities to make the winning arguments to an appellate court — a few briefs and oral argument — so experience, big-picture strategic thinking, and foresight are key to appellate success. We understand that appealing a trial court ruling is often a high-stakes proposition with the potential for a business-altering result. With this in mind, we never lose sight of our clients’ business goals and realities.
One example of Cozen O’Connor’s appellate prowess is our victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in a groundbreaking First Amendment case, representing the appellant in Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck. The dispute centered on questions of private versus governmental activity and who can be sued under the First Amendment. Convincing the Court to grant certiorari presented a significant challenge, and our team made key strategy decisions at that stage that not only persuaded the Court to take the case, but led directly to the victory. In that case, as in all appeals we handle, our focus was on framing the issue and keeping the Court focused on our framework, regardless of the other side’s repositioning. A perfectly presented appeal does not ask judges to wrestle with a decision, but rather asks them to endorse an inexorable conclusion.
Cozen O’Connor’s appellate team includes more than 40 attorneys around the country with significant appellate experience. They have collectively handled hundreds of appellate matters, authored important amicus briefs on behalf of industry groups and other interested parties, served in prestigious judicial clerkships, authored law review articles, served on law review editorial boards, and participated in numerous court-related committees. This level of professional and academic activity keeps our attorneys on the cutting edge of trends in the appellate courts, which, in turn, allows us to offer our clients superb service and prescient strategic advice.
Handle all types of appellate matters in any appellate forum
Analyze the record, supporting documents, and relevant law to advise clients and develop appellate strategies that ensure the most compelling legal arguments are raised to an appellate court
Provide advice on potential interlocutory appeals
Draft persuasive and comprehensive appellate briefs and other appellate documents
Present compelling oral arguments
Advise trial counsel prior to and during trial to ensure the proper identification and preservation of appellate issues
Draft compelling amicus curiae briefs that are never mere rehashes of the parties’ arguments