Crises often generate critical legal issues in which the law may be unsettled or where prosecutors, regulators, or private parties use the magnitude and profile of a crisis to push the boundaries of the law. Even ordinary and routine legal questions can turn into uphill battles in a high-profile crisis due to the headwinds of public opinion. A successful defense may require innovative constitutional or statutory arguments and advanced knowledge of evolving trends in the law. Many of these issues are destined to be resolved by an appellate court, state supreme court, or the US Supreme Court, but a company should have its positions clearly defined and presented long before then, when still dealing with government officials and litigating in trial courts.
Morgan Lewis’s appeals and special issues lawyers are nationally recognized advocates who help clients craft and present creative and powerful legal positions before the litigation process begins. We strive to identify, develop, and preserve all arguments vital to the success of a winning litigation strategy to maximize the chances that if an appeal were eventually taken, our clients would be defending a win instead of challenging a loss.
Morgan Lewis’s appeals and special issues lawyers have skills and experience that are invaluable to clients confronting a crisis. In one crisis situation, our client was a co-owner of the oil well involved in the largest oil spill in US history. While complaints were still being filed, our appeals and special issues lawyers developed the client’s positions on novel choice-of-law, statutory, and constitutional issues that were upheld on appeal years later and that helped the client negotiate favorable settlements early on. Another client was threatened with a lawsuit on a never-been-tested theory of liability, and we helped the client resolve that dispute out of court while advising on actions the client could take to minimize the risk of follow-on suits. In other cases, we have litigated mandamus and emergency filings while crises were still unfolding, and we have worked closely with top-of-their-profession expert witnesses to help them explain complex and technical opinions in ways that judges and juries can easily understand.