One essential trait that an appellate lawyer must possess is the ability to think about legal issues from the perspective of judges who serve on appellate courts. Appellate courts are not only responsible for trying to reach the correct result in the cases on appeal, but their rulings often create precedents that will govern other cases that don’t even exist yet. Thus, an appellate lawyer must be cognizant not only of how existing precedent will affect an appellate court’s view of a newly filed appeal, but also about how the precedent created in the course of deciding the new case will affect the future direction of the law.
Not every appeal has such an issue. If all appeals did, you wouldn’t see so few decisions published. But this is a question that must be part of every case evaluation and, if such an issue is present, the question of “what if” must be anticipated and answered before it is asked.