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New York City Law Department
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Legal Divisions - Appeals

The Appeals Division is responsible for handling appeals from virtually all the Law Department's litigating divisions (except for tax certiorari, bankruptcy, and excise tax appeals). It files about 725 appellate briefs annually. Lawyers in this Division represent the City before State and Federal appellate courts in matters that involve both routine litigation and unique disputes involving public policy. Appeals Division attorneys have an unparalleled variety of substantive matters making up their caseload. The number and variety of appellate issues generated by New York City give the Division an unrivaled opportunity to seek changes and developments in the law that can be particularly beneficial for the City's residents and its elected government. The New York Court of Appeals itself heard a total of 22 of the City's appeals in its 2011 calendar, about 14% of its total civil docket.

What New Attorneys Do
New attorneys in the Appeals division are assigned to one of several teams which receive cases from the Law Department's 17 divisions. Attorneys do not specialize in one area. Instead, they handle a wide variety of subject matters involving most of the City's agencies. After reviewing the case file, which will generally contain the record of the case at the lower court level and the decision being appealed, the attorney will research and write a complete respondent's or appellant's brief to be filed in the state or federal appellate courts. If argument time is requested, the attorney will appear before a panel of judges in the State Appellate Divisions or the Second Circuit. The attorney will work with his or her supervisor, the relevant City agency and the attorney who handled the case at the trial level in order to assure the best possible work product.

What Summer Interns Do
In the Appeals Division, summer interns will write two to four complete respondent briefs to be filed in the First and Second Departments of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court. After reviewing the adversary's brief, the record of the case before the trial court, and the lower court decision, the interns will research and draft the City's brief. After receiving feedback and suggestions from a senior attorney, the interns will put each brief in final shape for filing with the court. Interns will also likely observe appellate arguments before the Appellate Division or the Second Circuit. The Division normally takes 5 to 6 interns who have just completed their first year of law school.

View the Law Department's Annual Reports for More Information about the Appeals Division

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