We frequently represent clients seeking and defending writs of mandate, supersedeas, and prohibition in the California Court of Appeal and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Most trial court rulings are not appealable until after final judgment, but appellate writ petitions can allow you to take control of the case when a critical trial court decision goes against you in the middle of litigation — or they can help your opponent in the same way, if you’re not prepared. Here are some things you need to know:

A Writ Petition is potentially the most important pleading in the case.

Whenever you or your opponent file a critical pre-trial motion, consider whether the outcome could be challenged by an appellate writ petition. Strategizing about writ review from the outset can help you set up a writ challenge when it is in your interests, or insulate a ruling from review when it’s not. Likewise, if the trial court rules against you on an important motion, think about a writ petition before settling the case on unfavorable terms. Though they’re not easy, a successful writ really can be a game-changer.

Time is of the essence in a writ petition.

Writ petitions often need to be filed in a matter of days, not weeks. If you get an unfavorable ruling on a critical issue and you think it might be a good ruling on which to seek writ review, reach out to us right away. There may be steps to take in the trial court to make your writ petition stronger, and whatever needs to be done probably needs to be done immediately. We know when it makes sense to take a writ, how to take one, the critical time limits, and the necessary prerequisites. We know what to look for in the record to determine whether writ relief might be appropriate. If a writ petition is the right strategy, we can handle the petition for you or your client, or act as your consultants.

We have expertise in handling both civil and criminal writs, including:
  • demurrers
  • critical discovery rulings
  • SLAPPbacks
  • class certification decisions
  • summary adjudication
  • disqualification of an attorney or judge
  • good faith settlement
  • election law and ballot initiatives
  • post-judgment stays of enforcement
  • pre-trial evidentiary rulings
  • and almost any and all of the other law and motion and trial issues that confront trial attorneys and litigators.
Our California writs practice is headed by Susan Horst, who served as writ attorney on the California Court of Appeal for over 31 years.

Susan is one of the only practitioners in the state who has that kind of insider experience. During her career, she has evaluated thousands of pre- and post-trial writ petitions in all types of civil and criminal matters and across all areas of substantive law. Click here to see Susan’s background.

Our Ninth Circuit writs practice is headed by Polly Estes, who served as a motions and chambers law clerk on the Ninth Circuit for more than a decade.

Polly has worked with nearly every judge on the Ninth Circuit, and knows that court inside and out. Click here to see Polly’s background.

Feel free to reach out to Susan, Polly, or anyone at our firm by clicking here. If it’s an especially important motion, we can offer you the most help if you contact us before you file it.