Appellate Litigation

In appellate matters, we believe that building credibility with the court is the crucial factor in winning cases. We're known by the courts – from our previous appearances, they respect our thorough research and efficient presentation of the core issues in every appeal we handle.

The jury instructions were faulty. Proper procedures were ignored. The law was misconstrued. You were treated unfairly at trial. 

When the stakes are high, appeal may be your only option.

What to Look for in an Appeals Attorney

Credibility, humility, and brains. Look for an attorney who knows the court that will have jurisdiction, who is respected by that court. Someone who knows which issues the court cares about—which approaches have worked in the past. 

When you have only 20-30 minutes to make your argument succeed, you have to condense the key points into a convincing presentation that sells your points while answering the court's questions. That's a rare talent—one that is honed by first-hand experience and judgment.

What You'll Find at Venable

More than two dozen attorneys with significant experience before federal and state appeals courts across the country. They include a former U.S. attorney general, former members of the U.S. Solicitor General's Office, and former presidents of state and local bar associations. Our appellate attorneys are known for thoughtful, creative arguments and briefs that have resulted in victories in our last three cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as:

  • overturning Maryland's unemployment compensation rules for strikes at multisite facilities 
  • overturning a Michigan statute restricting the size of interstate freight trains
  • overturning large punitive damage awards ($200 million, $56 million, $40 million, and $9 million in Maryland and a $55 million award in a Tennessee federal court), all of which resulted in no tort liability against the defendants

Putting all the pieces together for a winning appeal

Appellate Litigation

Practice Focus

  • Administrative law
  • Bankruptcy law
  • Commercial law
  • Constitutional law
  • Construction law
  • Environmental law
  • Government contracts
  • Intellectual property
  • Labor and employment law
  • Products liability


  • In a bitter dispute over ownership of two professional sports teams and the arena in which they play, Venable appellate counsel convinced the appellate court to reverse a trial court's decision to give 30% minority owner full control of the teams and the arena at no cost other than return of the majority owners' capital contributions, which then totaled less than $30 million
  • A Supreme Court victory secured by Venable lawyers for a design and construction firm established important protections for employers who bring claims against unions for violations of labor laws. The court held that such litigation is constitutionally protected and cannot be considered as an unfair labor practice unless it is objectively baseless
  • On behalf of a bankrupt trucking company and its creditors, Venable lawyers persuaded the Supreme Court to hear the case and to reverse Fourth and Ninth Circuit decisions that had held that unpaid premiums for workers' compensation should be treated as priority claims under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code
  • In a novel and significant product liability decision, the appellate court ruled that a gun manufacturer could not be found liable for failing to install a trigger lock on a handgun that might have prevented a tragic, accidental shooting of a very young child who was playing with his father's improperly stored gun
  • In one of Venable's many appellate successes in reversing punitive damages, we successfully represented a major branded apparel company. This case involved a jury award of $56 million for fraud and punitive damages for failure to disclose a potential $200,000 tax liability that arose during the course of a closing to sell a business. The appellate court agreed that no fraud had been proved and threw out the tort case in its entirety
  • Venable attorneys successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court Wal-Mart v. Samara Brothers, named the most important trade dress case litigated since 1998 (Legal Times, October 2002)

Honors and Awards

10 Best Lawyers in America