Career Pathways: Appellate Practice/Civil Litigation

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Appellate practice attorneys help trial lawyers avoid or preserve grounds to appeal cases to appellate courts. They also provide trial support by drafting and arguing more complicated trial court motions and memoranda of law such as motions for summary judgment.  Appellate attorneys research and draft appellate briefs, and then argue those cases in front of appellate courts. Appellate briefs try to persuade a court to accept or reject the review of an administrative or lower court decision.  Appellate briefs also try to persuade a court to accept or overrule such a decision.

Appellate law is very fact and law intensive.  Appellate lawyers often read entire transcripts of cases or other proceedings, looking for mistakes (error) that can form the basis for an appeal.  Appellate lawyers appeal cases in many areas of the law, so they have to be skilled and comfortable with researching and understanding different, sometimes complex, factual and legal cases.

For more information about appellate law, see the Cornell Law’s Wex encyclopedia article “Appeal,” the Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Section website, and the American Bar Association Judicial Division Council of Appellate Lawyers.

Job Types Typical Duties
Federal Jobs
  • Hear appeals.
  • Make rulings.
  • Assist judges in reviewing trial records and briefs.
  • Prepare bench memoranda for judges summarizing positions of parties and analyzing legal issues.
  • Assist judges in the drafting of opinions.
  • Research applicable law for judges.
State Jobs
  • State Jobs
  • State Supreme Courts
  • State Appeals Courts
  • State Appellate Judicial Clerkships
  • Judicial Yellow Book – (State Law Clerk Information Guide)
  • Hear appeals.
  • Make rulings.
  • Assist judges in reviewing trial records and briefs.
  • Prepare bench memoranda for judges summarizing positions of parties and analyzing legal issues.
  • Assist judges in the drafting of opinions.
  • Research applicable law for judges.
Local Government
  • City Attorney's Office
  • County Attorney's Office
  • Mayor's Office
  • Public Defenders' Offices
  • Prosecutors' Offices
  • File and argue appeals on behalf of the state, a defendant, or a municipality in criminal cases or cases involving issues pertinent to local government.
Private Law Firms
  • Draft and file appellate briefs on behalf of clients.
  • Argue cases in various levels of state or federal appellate courts, including (potentially) the state Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.

Other Activities

  • Become a Judicial Law Clerk (state, appellate, or federal) after graduation from law school.
  • Obtain an internship with an attorney or firm who practices in civil litigation or appellate practice.
  • Periodically check the Symplicity Job Board for jobs and internships in this field of practice.

Civil Litigation/Appellate Practice Curriculum Guide


Faculty Members Include: Tim Arcaro, Randolph Braccialarghe, Brion Blackwelder, Kathy Cerminara, Megan Chaney, Michael Dale, Mark Dobson, Michael Flynn, Amanda Foster, Richard Grosso, Joe Hnylka, Bob Jarvis, Judith Karp, Camille Lamar, Jim Levy, Michael Masinter, Michael Richmond, John Sanchez, Kathryn Webber


Core Offerings

Advanced Offerings

Related Offerings

Civil Procedure (4 Credits) LAW 0652 (MBE) (FB)

Advanced Legal Research Techniques (2 Credits) LAW 0677/ LAW 0678

Children and Families Clinic (FT: 12 Credits) LAW 0929/0930/0931/0932/ (PT: 6 Credits) LAW 0926/927

Conflict of Laws (3 Credits) LAW 0693 (MBE)

Advanced Trial Advocacy (3 Credits) LAW 0893

Civil Field Placement Clinic (FT 12 Credits) LAW 0826/0829 or (PT 6 credits) LAW 0826/0828

Evidence (4 Credits) LAW 0614 (MBE) (FB)

Advanced Professional Responsibility Workshop (2 Credits) LAW 0697

Civil Rights Litigation Seminar (2 Credits) LAW 0615

Legal Research and Writing I (3 Credits) LAW 0662

Appellate Practice Workshop (2 Credits) LAW 0874

Dispute Resolution Clinic (8 Credits) LAW 1035/1036/ 1037

Legal Research and Writing II (3 Credits) LAW 0663

Civil Pre-Trial Practice (3 Credits) LAW 0517

Domestic Violence Law and Policy (2 Credits) LAW 0694

Legal Reasoning and Analysis (2 credits) LAW 0792

Electronic Discovery, Digital Evidence and Information Governance Workshop (2 Credits) LAW 0200

Family Law Litigation Workshop (3 Credits) LAW 0686

Remedies (3 Credits) LAW 0755


Federal Jurisdiction (3 Credits) LAW 0685

Interviewing and Counseling (2 Credits) LAW 1062


International Law (3 Credits) LAW 0840

Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiating (3 Credits) LAW 0665


International Litigation (3 credits) LAW 0842 

Jurisprudence Seminar (2 Credits) LAW 0735


Legal Drafting Workshop (2 Credits) LAW 0752 

Judicial Field Placement Class/ Judicial Field Placement (1 credit) LAW 0821/ (2 credits) LAW 0822



Legal Malpractice (2 Credits) LAW 4679

Judicial Opinion Writing Workshop (2 credits) LAW 0962 



Landlord Tenant Workshop (2 Credits) LAW 1070


Trial Advocacy (3 Credits) LAW 0890


Law and Literature Seminar (2 Credits) LAW 0718



Lawyers as Advocates: Rhetoric, Modes of Persuasion & Public Policy Advocates (2 credits) LAW 1000



Mediation Workshop (2 Credits) LAW 0522




Negotiating Workshop (2 Credits) LAW 0672/ LAW 4672



Street Law (2 credits) LAW 1004



Veterans Law Clinic  (FT 12 Credits) LAW 4683 or (PT 6 credits) LAW 4680

Faculty With this Specialty