Appellate Advocacy

The skills required to be a good appellate litigator differ significantly from those of a good trial lawyer. A good trial lawyer must effectively manage document discovery, issue and respond to written interrogatories, conduct and defend against depositions, question and cross-examine witnesses, select juries, and formulate and present factual themes that will persuade the finder of fact, which is often a jury of laypersons. In contrast, the most important aspects of the appellate lawyer's role involve the exercises of legal judgment, research, analysis, and writing that go into crafting an effective appellate brief and preparing sound oral arguments for an audience consisting of a panel of highly-educated and experienced judges who expect to receive polished and thoroughly researched briefs that carefully set forth all pertinent authorities and arguments regarding the issues on appeal. An appellate lawyer must also be familiar with the procedural intricacies of the appellate courts.

Scott D. Wilson has been involved as a lawyer in more than 30 appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, two petitions for writs to the United States Supreme Court, and numerous appeals and writ applications to Louisiana state appellate courts and the Louisiana Supreme Court. In a landmark ruling, Scott obtained a reversal from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals of a summary judgment granted by the district court in the first Family and Medical Leave Act case heard by any federal appellate court. See Manuel v. Westlake Polymers Corp., 66 F.3d 758 (5th Cir. 1995). In another landmark decision, Scott obtained a reversal from the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in a definition of the relevant standards to be applied in analyzing Louisiana's anti-SLAPP statute, La. C.C.P. art. 971. Lozovyy v. Kurtz, (5th Cir. 2015), 813 F.3d 576. He is an experienced and effective appellate advocate in complex cases involving constitutional law, employment, insurance coverage, personal injury, intellectual property, contract and business disputes, and class actions. He does not handle appeals in criminal, family law, workers' compensation, juvenile, immigration, bankruptcy, or pro se matters.

As a solo practitioner, Scott D. Wilson operates with lower overhead than large law firms and can offer less expensive fee arrangements, often including fixed, or flat, fees for appellate work. He also provides the assurance that all work will be done by him personally and not by an inexperienced associate or someone else. He considers appellate referrals from other lawyers and directly from clients as well.