Appellate litigation is a specialized discipline. While trial and appellate skills overlap, there are distinctions.  Trial attorneys are often immersed in discovery, dealing with witnesses and juries while appellate attorneys focus on writing, legal research, and legal trends. Trials involve facts, people, and emotions while appeals are detached discussions about the law.  Appellate briefs require time and patience. The skills an attorney develops through experience with that process is unique. Familiarity with courts of review can help avoid costly mistakes in procedure and preference.  A fresh perspective is also an advantage.

Querrey & Harrow recognizes appeals as a specialized area, rather than an outgrowth of litigation.   Querrey & Harrow’s appellate attorneys accept each new appeal as a challenge to craft a succinct brief and compelling oral argument. Their practices do include writing complex briefs on litigation matters in the trial court which enhances writing and research skills, but they are passionate about appellate work.

They handle matters before state appellate courts and federal appellate courts on a regular basis.  Through their experience and clerkships, our attorneys know the procedures and preferences of each court of review.

Dedicated to quality work, we are also sensitive to our clients’ economic and professional concerns.  Our experience helps us to incisively evaluate cases, suggest cost-effective strategies, and render informed opinions as to the likelihood of success in post-trial proceedings.


Representative Matters


  • Hernandez v. Cook County Sheriff's Office, 634 F.3d 906 (7th Cir. 2011). We successfully obtained interlocutory review They then drafted an appellate brief before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that Judge Guzman erred in denying Sheriff’s deputies qualified immunity. The Seventh Circuit reversed Judge Guzman’s decision and remanded.
  • Berg v. Culhane, 443 F. App'x. 221 (7th Cir. Dec. 22, 2011). Brandon Lemley successfully obtained a trial verdict in favor of a police officer accused of using excessive force during an arrest. When plaintiff appealed, Mr. Lemley convinced the Seventh Circuit to affirm the favorable judgment.
  • Backes v. Vill. of Peoria Heights, 662 F.3d 866 (7th Cir. 2011). After obtaining summary judgment in favor of police officers accused of using excessive force, Brandon Lemley successfully defended the appeal before the Seventh Circuit.
  • Lacey v. Palatine, 232 Ill.2d 349, 904 N.E.2d 18 (Ill. 2009). Paul Rettberg and Brandon Lemley obtained the dismissal of a Domestic Violence Act lawsuit against a suburban municipality, alleging that it failed to prevent a double homicide. Although the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the dismissal, Mr. Rettberg and Mr. Lemley successfully persuaded the Illinois Supreme Court to accept the appeal, and the Supreme Court found in their favor.
  • Thomas v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 604 F.3d 293 (7th Cir. 2010) We represented the Cook County Sheriff and three deputies in a civil rights lawsuit alleging wrongful death at the Cook County Jail and successfully obtained the reversal of the verdict against their clients.
  • Active Disposal, Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883 (7th Cir. 2011). We obtained the dismissal of a putative class-action antitrust lawsuit against various municipalities and then persuaded the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that the lawsuit lacked merit and the court affirmed.
  • Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 845 (7th Cir. 2010). We obtained summary judgment in favor of our client and then persuaded the Seventh Circuit to affirm that judgment.
  • Swearnigen-El v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 852 (7th Cir. 2010). We were successful on motions for summary judgment, as well as in our arguments before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Mach v. Will County Sheriff, 580 F.3d 495 (7th Cir. 2009). We represented the Will County Sheriff before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and not only convinced the Court to affirm the judgment in favor of our client, but also to affirm the imposition of sanctions against our opponent.
  • Srail v. Village of Lisle, 588 F.3d 940 (7th Cir. 2009). After Mr. Rettberg and Mr. Lemley obtained summary judgment in this multi-million dollar class action against a suburban municipality, they convinced the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the judgment in their client’s favor.
  • Board of Educ. of Rich Tp. High School Dist. No. 227 v. Illinois State Bd. of Educ., 2011 IL App (1st) 110182, --- N.E.2d ---- (Ill. App. Ct. December 30, 2011). Brandon Lemley represented the first south suburban charter school, successfully litigated the case to allow the charter school to open its doors in 2010. When our opponent appealed, Mr. Lemley convinced the Illinois First District Court of Appeals that the charter school was in the best interests of the students, allowing the school to remain open.
  • Benedix v. Village of Hanover Park, 677 F.3d 317 (7th Cir. 2012). Mr. Rettberg and Mr. Lemley obtained the dismissal of this civil rights claim before the trial court. Mr. Lemley successfully defended the appeal in the Seventh Circuit.
  • Berge v. Village of Oak Lawn, No. 1-10-3692. Plaintiff sued under the Illinois Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/1. Plaintiff alleged the Defendant violated this statute by discussing certain matters in a closed session and taking a final action during a closed session. Representing the Village of Oak Lawn, we countered that the closed executive session was to discuss pending litigation and collective negotiating matters, subjects specifically exempt from the Open Meetings Act. The circuit court dismissed, and the First District Appellate Court affirmed.
  • Bailey v. Illinois Liquor Control Commission, 1-09-3375 (Ill.App.Ct 1st Dist. 2010). We argued in the 1st District Court of Appeals and prevailed after convincing the court that a suburban liquor store did not violate a law that prohibits the sale of alcohol near a school even though the store is next to a day care center that also operates a preschool.