Michael P. Zwiebel
Attorney at Law

About the appellate process...


An appeal is quite different than the trial or hearing that you’ve had in the lower court.  While lower court hearings are concerned largely with resolving factual disputes, appeals focus almost entirely on legal issues, and generally do not revisit the factual determinations that have already been made.  Therefore, issues that were central to a trial may become much less important on appeal, while legal issues that did not seem crucial in the lower court may acquire great significance at the appellate stage. 


One of the primary jobs of an appellate attorney is to sift through the trial record and choose issues for review that stand the greatest chance of success, taking into account the current law on the issue, the various standards used by appellate courts to review different types of issues, the types of issues that appellate courts find important, and the way in which the issue was raised and argued in the lower court.  Because these determinations involve issues peculiar to appeals, it is usually advisable to consult with an attorney specializing in that area when considering an appeal.             


After having identified the issues for appeal, the appellate attorney reviews the record, researches the law and writes the briefs, which are the main component of any appeal.  It is therefore essential that your advocate at this stage possess a clear and cogent writing style that can persuasively communicate the logic of your position, and also that he or she have sufficient experience to understand the kinds of arguments that will make sense to an appellate court.  I have developed a reputation for producing persuasive and well-written briefs, in part because of my writing experience (which includes a master’s degree in English), and in part due to the knowledge developed from litigating numerous appeals.


After the court has reviewed the briefs, it may or may not set the case for oral argument.  As with the briefs, the arguments that an appellate court expects to hear at this stage are entirely different than the kinds of arguments that lawyers make to juries in a lower court, and require the experience and knowledge of an appellate attorney.


Because I have both extensive trial and appellate experience, I can bring to an appeal the ability to understand and utilize the interrelationship between trial and appellate issues.  If you find yourself needing the services of an appellate lawyer, please call or email me for a free consultation.


Representative published appellate decisions (more complete list of published and unpublished decisions available upon request):

      People v. Pollard, 307 P.3d 1124 (Colo. App. 2013)
U.S. v. Santistevan, 701 F.3d 1289 (10th Cir. 2012)
      In re M.W., 292 P.3d 1158 (Colo. App. 2012)
      Lederman v. Frontier Fire Protection, Inc., 685 F.3d 1151 (10th Cir. 2012)
      Klen v. City of Loveland, 661 F.3d 498 (10th Cir. 2011)
      Accident & Injury Med. Spec. v. Mintz, 279 P.3d 658 (Colo. 2012)

      People v. Maestas, 199 P.3d 713 (Colo. 2009)

      In re Marriage of Slowinski, 199 P.3d 48 (Colo. App. 2008)

      People v. Guatney, 183 P.3d 620 (Colo. App. 2007), rev’d 214 P.3d 104(Colo.2009)

      United States v. Finn, 375 F.3d 1033 (10 Cir. 2004)

      Aloi v. Union Pacific Railroad, 129 P.3d 999 (Colo. 3/6/06)

      Bovard v. People, 99 P.3d 585 (Colo. 2004)

      In re Marriage of Chalat, 112 P.3d 47 (Colo. 2004)

      People v. Jiminez, 863 P.2d 981 (Colo. 1993) 

For a free consultation regarding your case, contact me:

Michael P. Zwiebel

Springer and Steinberg, PC

1600 Broadway

Suite 1200,

Denver, CO,  80202
(303) 327-5932

(303) 861-2800