Before considering an appellate attorney, you should have a good understanding of the fundamentals of the appellate process. Once you have a basic understanding of the process, you can begin to research appellate lawyers in your area. Find somebody who you can both depend on and afford. Here are the steps to help you locate the right criminal appeals attorney.
1. Ask for Recommendations
One of the best ways to make sure you find a reputable appellate lawyer is to ask for recommendations from people you know have been convicted of crimes and appealed in court, or from your current lawyer. Ask for several recommendations so that you can review each one and make a determination from there.
2. Ask Pertinent Questions
When interviewing an appellate attorney, you should get as many details about their practice as possible. You should ask detailed questions to help you make a decision about them, such as: How long have you been in practice? What kind of cases have you handled? Is there a publicized case you can tell me about? What part of your practice is dedicated to criminal appeals?
You should also ask for recent briefs, as viewing their writing will also help you understand their personality more. You can also have your lawyer examine the writing and offer an opinion for you.
3. Make Sure They Give You an Accurate Quote
Prior to giving you a quote, a good appellate attorney will have a solid understanding of the length of your trial, knowledge of any prepared transcript and a chance to speak with the legal representation of your co-defendants. He or she will also want to speak with your trial lawyer for additional details that can help you when appealing, such as whether or not an appeal has already been filed.
4. Consider Additional Costs
Normally, an appellate lawyer will only agree to handle the first appeals court, unless you specify otherwise. This means that the attorney will write a brief and potentially a reply brief once the opposing party’s brief is sent to the attorney, and he or she can then argue the appeal provided the court allows it. You should make sure your attorney will file a petition for rehearing if you lose an appeal, provided the situation warrants it. Ask about the costs of additional appeals.
The overall cost of an appeal depends on the trial length as well as several other factors. The final cost could run you between $10,000 and $150,00 or even more, and that’s not counting other expenses such as transcript costs. Ask your attorney for either a flat or an hourly fee; most appellate lawyers will offer both based on clients’ preferences.