Should My Trial Attorney Write My Appeal?

After going through the lengthy trial process, most litigants presume that their trial level attorney will handle the appeal. After all, who knows the case better than he or she does? In reality, however, most trial level attorneys will not handle appeals as a rule. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t seek out an appellate specialist to handle your case at the trial level, so why would you pursue an appeal with a trial specialist?

Your trial level attorney will still be an important part of your appeal. It is common practice for an appellate attorney to discuss a case with the trial level attorney in order to determine what he or she believes to be important issues for appeal. Moreover, the trial level attorney will be responsible for forwarding the case file to the appellate attorney.

Your appellate attorney will look at the case with an objective, fresh eye, and a working knowledge of effective appellate arguments. In some cases, the best post-conviction argument will be that the trial attorney made an error, rendering his or her assistance as ineffective. Although attorney errors are common, it would be difficult for an attorney to argue that his or her own performance was deficient.

Moreover, appellate practice requires careful attention to appellate rules and procedures. Appellate specialists have a solid working knowledge of these rules and procedures because they work with them daily. Therefore, it takes them less time to draft compliant appellate documents. While a trial attorney can certainly look up and follow appropriate rules and procedures, there is no substitute for experience.

To speak with a knowledgeable attorney about your appeal, contact the Alderman Law Firm today for your free consultation.