The Law Office of Johanna S. Schiavoni has the experience to help you in any phase of your case – from key trial proceedings through appeal to any level of the state or federal courts or in mediation pending appeal. Contact the firm to discuss your case.

Appellate litigation, and pre- and post-appeal strategy, involve many key components. You can hire the Law Office of Johanna S. Schiavoni to handle your appeal from start to finish, or for just some of the services described below.

Click here to read more about how and when an appellate expert can help you.

The Appeal

Notice of appeal. Proper preparation of the notice of appeal is key to ensuring that the correct judgment and/or order is appealed from in a timely and jurisdictionally-correct manner.

Preparing the record on appeal. Identifying the right documents and transcripts to include in the record, and supplementing or augmenting the record as needed.

Briefing. The firm has extensive experience drafting all types of appellate briefs in state and federal courts. Johanna’s prior law clerk experience for both trial and appellate judges provides her with key insight into preparing strong briefs.

Consulting about briefs. The firm can be retained to assist with consulting about your briefs. Where other attorneys, particularly trial counsel, prepare briefs, it can be beneficial to have a appellate counsel provide fresh perspective and insight.

Post-briefing letters updating the court about newly-issued opinions. The firm will monitor, advise and act as necessary to advise the court of new opinions relevant to your appeal.

Amicus briefs & letters. The firm can draft amicus briefs and letters in other pending litigation, and can coordinate support among other amici. This can be done to support briefs in an appeal, or in support of a petition for rehearing or petition for review. The firm also monitors key areas of law for clients to recommend when filing an amicus brief or letter may be in your strategic interest.

Oral argument. The firm has experience handling oral argument in both federal and state appellate courts, and before public agency appellate review boards.

Moot courts. Even if not arguing the appeal in your case, the firm can help set up and conduct a moot court – a detailed practice session – to assist your arguing attorney’s strategic preparation.

Mediation pending appeal. Mediation pending appeal can be a better alternative to parties for many reasons, including the prospect of a re-trial of all or part of a case. Mediation can be conducted while an appeal is pending in either federal or state courts.


Many stages of the trial proceedings (including pre-trial, trial or post-trial) dramatically affect the outcome of a later appeal. Having a strong record – briefs, rulings, testimony, jury instructions, verdict form, findings of fact and conclusions of law, etc. – in the trial court proceedings is the best way to develop a strong appeal, writ for extraordinary relief, or posture a case for potential settlement.

Major motions. The firm can assist trial teams with researching and drafting pleadings, pretrial/evidentiary motions, trial motions, jury instructions, verdict forms, findings of fact and conclusions of law in bench trials, and post-trial motions. This is particularly important with dispositive motions or those that raise issues that may be appealed. For example, the firm has extensive experience drafting class certification, de-certification and opposition briefing (and related writ petitions).

Trial proceedings. The firm can assist during trial, to ensure a strong record is established. As trial counsel work on fast-paced proceedings, particularly leading up to and during trial, clients and trial counsel often benefit from consulting an appellate lawyer to ensure the proper foundation is established and potentially important issues are addressed and preserved in the trial court. This can include consulting during trial to ensure clear rulings from the trial judge on all motions, keeping track of all motions, preserving potential issues by ensuring that trial counsel interposes objections and makes required motions during certain stages of the trial proceedings, reviewing the trial record and testimony for completeness and clarity, making a clear record of all visual aids used in the trial proceedings, preparing thorough jury instructions, special verdict forms, and post trial motions.

Extraordinary writs. The state and federal courts allow various forms of extraordinary writs to seek immediate relief from the decision of a trial court or action/lack of action of a public agency. The firm can assist you in determining if your case merits a writ challenge and prepare the filing, which often needs to be done on a highly-expedited timeline. An extraordinary writ can be used to challenge agency decisions, enforce a civil right, challenge the decision of a tribunal as exceeding its jurisdiction, seek review of other judicial actions (a frequent subject of writs in California state courts is a challenge to or defense of an order certifying a class), or obtain a stay of proceedings while a writ is pending.

Other potentially appealable decisions. Some other court orders are appealable before there is a verdict or other final decision in a case. The firm can advise on whether an interim order is appealable and handle the interlocutory appeal.

Posting an appeal bond. In civil cases, the firm can assist you with navigating the procedures for posting an appeal bond in civil cases.

Seeking bail pending appeal. In criminal and extradition cases, the firm can pursue bail pending appeal.

Moving for a stay of removal pending appeal. In immigration cases, the firm can seek a stay of your removal pending appeal.


Post-appeal motions. The firm can prepare post-appeal motions, for example, motions for attorneys’ fees and costs.

Post-appeal petitions. The firm can be hired to consult about whether to seek further review after your first level appeal is concluded. If so, the firm can prepare post-appeal petitions, including petitions for panel rehearing or rehearing en banc, a petition for review in the California Supreme Court or a petition for certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Contact Information

Law Office of
Johanna S. Schiavoni

3170 Fourth Avenue
Suite 250
San Diego, CA 92103
T:(619) 269-4046
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What an Appellate Expert Can Do for You

Appeals are quite different from trials. They involve different strategy, procedures and perspective. Hiring appellate counsel brings these different, yet complimentary, skills to your litigation team. And, sometimes the best way to avoid a trial or settle a case is to have strong arguments for an appeal.

The all-important briefs. The most important part of an appeal is the written briefs, as an increasing number of appeals are decided without oral argument. Appellate briefs – and the issues and arguments raised – benefit from expert research and writing skills, strategic experience and unique insight.

The impact of strong oral advocacy. Oral argument is increasingly infrequent, but when it happens, it is critically important. It provides the court with an opportunity ask questions and address trouble areas in the case. Appellate counsel skilled in answering the court’s questions, while advancing affirmative arguments and avoiding potential pitfalls at oral argument, can make all the difference.

Why pre-appeal preparation is important. Although an appeal typically occurs after trial or a final judgment from the court, appellate litigation – and good strategy – can start before the trial case is over. Preparation is key, and so is laying the groundwork for a potential later appeal. Making the right arguments at the right time – and knowing when and how to challenge or defend the court’s trial rulings, often on a short timeline – can be critical to securing a favorable outcome in post-trial proceedings or on appeal.

The Law Office of Johanna S. Schiavoni works with clients and trial counsel to assist with all phases of an appeal or in pre-appeal proceedings, and will bring extensive appellate experience to your case.

Click here to read more about how and when an appellate expert can help you.