What are common errors in federal appeals filings?

In a review of briefs filed through the federal Court of Appeals, it was found that a bit over 16 percent featured common errors. Working with a lawyer who is well-versed in appeals processes helps reduce the chance that your case will suffer from some of these common errors.

Documents that are filed through the court's electronic process have to be in a PDF format so they are text searchable. This means they have to start out as word processing files and be converted to PDFs using conversion software, which may or may not be included in the word processing program. Firms cannot simply scan a document as a PDF, because that does not create searchable text.

All documents submitted must follow formatting rules of the court, and some do not. In other cases, formatting is correct but the document is missing required information or a required part of the document is missing. In other cases, attorneys have taken time to file briefs through the appeals court, but those documents were filed on behalf of a person who was not officially part of an appellate case.

Finally, the only attorneys who can file documents in such federal appeals cases are those who are admitted under the Federal Circuit Bar. This is one reason that it's important to seek out an attorney who is experienced and appropriated credentialed to deal with your appeals case.

No one is infallible, but an experienced attorney is less likely to make small mistakes that can jeopardize your appeal. They understand the timelines, formatting and other requirements associated with the appeals court processes.

Source: US Court of Appeals for the Federal District, "Top 10 Most Common Errors in Briefs and Motions," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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