Selecting An Appellate Attorney
"Who should handle my appeal?"
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., attorneys believe selecting an appellate attorney is an important step in ensuring your appeal is handled as well as your trial. In many cases, it makes a great deal of sense to have your trial counsel continue on and handle your appeal.
There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, this attorney already understands the legal and factual aspects of the case as well as anyone. With a new lawyer, there is inherently some duplication of time and cost associated with getting him or her up to the same knowledge base.
Nevertheless, there are times trial attorneys and their clients part ways at the point of appeal. In many cases, trial attorneys do not handle appellate work. Appeals are completely different from trial practice, and for this reason, some of the skills that make a good trial attorney, are incongruous with effective appellate advocates.
A trial attorney should be able to handle any unforseen circumstance that arises during litigation. The hallmark of a good appellate attorney is to not have any unforseen matters not fully accounted for in his or her client’s briefing.
There are no hard and fast rules for selecting a good trial or appellate attorney. However, to aid Readers in making informed selections as to appellate counsel, some of the talking points with, or research about, proposed appellate counsel might include the following:
- Are appeals a routine part of your practice?
- Do you focus on any certain type of appeals?
- What is your appellate philosophy?
- Will you handle the oral argument if it is ordered?
- What role will you have with my trial counsel?
- Who will handle the legal details, if any, after the appeal concludes?
- How much should I budget for the foreseeable aspects of the appeal?
- Will I be involved with you in the process of perfecting, research, and writing the brief?
- How do you select the issues to raise?
- What can I do to help the process go along more smoothly and what do you need from me (such as motions and pleadings, a time line, and the like)?
- Do you have briefs, opinions, and oral arguments I can review and/or watch?
- What would you do or not do if you were in my situation insofar as appeal is concerned?
- Can we agree to disagree?
- Will you advocate issues of importance to me even if I disagree?
This noted, after you have these and other questions researched and/or answered, it is critical to make a clear decision as to counsel of your choice. Frankly, in today’s electronic world, there should be ample ability to make a fully informed choice about an attorney, appellate attorney or otherwise, you do not know.
As a potential appellant, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. is at the ready to answer these for you, in a straight forward format. If they reflect your expectations of your counsel, then perhaps we should be your appellate team.