A successful appellate practice demands experience and skills that are different from those needed at the trial level. Even for attorneys who have the requisite knowledge and understanding, conflicts of interest, lack of resources and other issues can prevent them from continuing to act as counsel when a case moves on to appeal. For clients involved in such high-stakes disputes, it is critical to seek out and obtain the best counsel possible.

Over the years, our firm's appellate attorneys have argued cases successfully before the United States Supreme Court, the Illinois Supreme Court, and numerous state and federal appeals courts across the country. A number of these cases have resulted in new law, setting precedents that affect businesses and industries well beyond our own clients. These include:

  • Brouwer v. Raffensperger, Hughes & Co., 199 F.3d 961 (7th Cir. 2000), which helped set the standard for RICO conspiracy
  • Perry v. Economy Fire & Cas. Co., 724 N.E.2d 151 (1st Dist. 1999), which determined the type of notice an insurer must give a policyholder before materially changing coverage
  • Insurance Co. of Illinois v. Stringfield, 685 N.E.2d 980 (1st Dist. 1997), which limits the scope of insurance policies' pollution exclusions
  • Valley Forge Ins. Co. v. Swiderski Electronics, Inc., 860 N.E.2d 307, 223 Ill. 2d 352 (Ill. Supreme Court, Nov. 30, 2006), which expands advertising injury coverage and holds that undefined terms in insurance policies are afforded their plain, ordinary and popular meanings
  • Tefco v. Continental Community Bank, 357 Ill.App.3d 714, 829 N.E.2d 860, 293 Ill.Dec. 935 (1st Dist. 2005), which affirmed summary judgment below that an unverified recorded mechanics lien is ineffective

The success of the firm's appellate practice is driven by these strengths:

  • Experience: Appellate practice is unique. Our attorneys understand the important differences and can ensure that cases are filed, monitored and argued according to the rules and traditions of the particular court.
  • Effective oral argument skills: Presentations and question-and-answer sessions at the appellate level require quick-thinking attorneys accustomed to keeping cool under fire. Arguments in the higher courts are often more free-flowing and rapid than those at the trial level. The most effective attorneys are prepared for the unexpected and know how to use surprise to their advantage.

Much Shelist's appellate attorneys represent clients in a broad range of industries, and they have developed significant experience in matters involving insurance coverage, consumer fraud, construction litigation and mechanics liens, among other areas.