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Appellate Practice Tips

Lether Law Group is engaged in appellate practice across multiple jurisdictions including multiple State Courts of Appeals and the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal. As any experienced insurance defense litigator knows, a win at the trial level for your client is often not the end of the story. Accordingly, in this week’s newsletter, our office will share some helpful practice pointers we have gained through our litigation in the various Courts of Appeals.

            A Complete Record – The first and most essential step in any appeal is assuring you and your client have the complete trial court record. While seemingly elementary, effective appellate advocacy starts with a complete underlying record. Once the Appellant has designated the clerks’ papers and statement of arrangements, and prior to receiving a copy of those clerks’ papers, proactively cross reference opposing counsel’s designation with the trial court docket. If any relevant pleading is absent, or any potentially relevant pleading is absent from opposing counsels designated clerks’ papers, move to supplement the clerk’s papers. Failure to do so will foreclose an appellate attorney’s ability to argue a potentially relevant issue or procedural aspect before the appellate court.

           Comprehensive Legal Briefing – There is a natural tendency in appellate practice to rely partly upon the briefing at the trial court level because the issues in question were fully litigated. However, it would be an error to rely on the underlying briefing and assume it is sufficient for a review by the Court of Appeals. Rather, effective appellate practice requires a total reassessment of the underlying case from the facts as plead to the citations relied upon by the parties. The loadstar for any appeal is the standard of review. A de novo review by the Court of Appeals will requires a total reevaluation of the underlying case in a manner that a review for abuse of discretion might not. Further, the caselaw relied upon by the parties at the trial court level may have changed in the time since the trial court’s decision and should always be verified as to the holdings they purport. Accordingly, the process of drafting an appeal often requires a ground up reassessment of the facts and law surrounding the trial court’s decision.

            Patience – Appeals take time. The average lifespan of an Appeal is 18 to 24 months. Even after the Court of Appeals receives all briefing from the parties, it will often take 6 to 10 months or more to render a decision on the matter. Given this expansive timeline, it is helpful to communicate reasonable expectations to your client about the resolution their appeal. Further, it is essential to communicate with the client periodically throughout this time to inform them you are monitoring the matter throughout the lengthy appeals process.  

            Lether Law Group currently represents clients in multiple jurisdictions for their appellate matters. For questions regarding acute appeals State Courts of Appeal or the Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, please feel free to contact our office.

Chris Kranda

Chris Kranda

Associate Attorney

Born and raised in the pacific northwest Chris attended Seattle University’s Matteo Ricci College where he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Humanities. He remained in the area and earned his Juris Doctor Seattle University School of Law.

During law school, Chris externed in US District Court for the Western District of Washington for the Honorable Robert S. Lasnik, and later worked as a Rule 9 prosecutor before joining the King County Prosecutor’s Office as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. He served in District Court and Violent & Economic Crime Units from 2019 to 2021 before joining Lether Law Group to begin his civil practice.

In his free time, Chris enjoys camping, fly fishing, and road trips.

Lether Law Group is Pleased to Announce its Newest Shareholder

As many of you know, Kevin Kay joined Lether Law Group in November 2019 as a partner after many years of practice in the Northwest and around the country as coverage and extra-contractual counsel for a number of insurers.  Kevin started his civil practice with Tom Lether and Eric Neal more than 16 years ago and has continued to provide clients with excellent advice and representation since joining Lether Law Group.  Kevin’s leadership skills, legal acumen, and work ethic have made him an excellent Partner.  Lether Law Group is now proud to welcome Kevin as our newest Shareholder.  We look forward to many more years of success, growth, and fun with Kevin taking the next step in his journey as part of the Lether Law Group family.  Congratulations Kevin!

Seattle is back and Lether Law Group is here to help

People and businesses around the country continue to deal with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Nevertheless, there is a sense of hope and anticipation in the air as businesses continue to reopen and people have begun to come together again.  The Lether Law Group family had a chance to experience this firsthand last week when we joined hundreds of Seattleites and hockey fans to celebrate the expansion draft for the inaugural season of the Seattle Kraken NHL team.

The event occurred in front of our offices on Lake Union and gave us all a chance to get on the water and celebrate with our friends and neighbors.  We had a great time swimming, cruising the lake, and interacting with those around as we all soaked in the sun and the experience of this lifetime event.

It was wonderful to see the City of Seattle and hockey fans come together to celebrate this new hockey franchise. Lether Law Group could not be more excited to watch and cheer on the Seattle Kraken in the months ahead.  We also look forward to celebrating the return of normalcy with all of you.  As we have been before and throughout the pandemic, we at Lether Law Group stand ready to help navigate any legal issues you may face and to celebrate the victories with you.  Go Kraken!

Happy 4th of July

Happy fully opened USA! We are excited to to get our lives back to normal and we hope you take the opportunity to celebrate this holiday weekend. We know you will appreciate our independence this year more than ever.

In observation of the holiday our offices will be closed July 5th.

Fresh Faces

Lether Law Group is happy to announce the addition of two new associate attorneys to the firm.  Welcome to the team Maria Hull and John Isaacson.


Maria attended the University of Texas, where she earned a degree in Social Work. After working as a social worker in the private and public sectors, she went back to school to pursue her Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law . During law school, Maria earned her transactional law certificate, which propelled her into an in-house corporate role for an energy company in Houston.  After relocating to Seattle, Maria joined the Lether Law Group and is a member of the Board of Directors at a local nonprofit.  Maria spends her free time playing golf with her husband.


Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, John spent his undergrad years in the State of Texas before moving to Spokane, Washington to attend law school at Gonzaga. Although he initially planned to return to the heat and sunshine, he enjoyed his time in Washington far more than he expected to and feels lucky to be able to call it home for the foreseeable future. After law school, John worked with Pierce County’s Department of Assigned Counsel as a Public Defender before deciding to transition to the life of private practice. He enjoys fishing, painting, cooking, and admittedly more than a few Netflix shows.