How do I Choose the Best Appellate Lawyers?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
It is important to consider the track record of the appellate lawyer that your are considering.
It is important to consider the track record of the appellate lawyer that your are considering.

Comparing appellate lawyers can be difficult. There are, however, some ways you can narrow your list in an attempt to choose the best attorney. For starters, you may look for a lawyer who is experienced in handling appeals and has handled many cases. You may also look for an attorney with excellent peer review ratings and an above-average track record for success. Additionally, you may compare appellate lawyers based on whether or not they contract with other businesses for legal research and brief writing.

While any lawyer may offer to handle your appeals case, many legal experts advise against choosing just any lawyer for this job. This advice is based on the idea that a lawyer who focuses on general types of cases may not have the experience and knowledge of appeals necessary to handle your case well. In general, it is considered best to choose a lawyer who focuses a significant percentage of his practice on appeals cases.

When you are comparing appellate lawyers, you may also do well to consider the track record of the lawyers you are considering. You may ask the lawyers you are considering how many appellate cases they have handled. However, it is usually important to find out not only how many appellate cases a lawyer has handled, but also how many cases he’s handled as the primary or lead attorney. A lawyer who has served as the main attorney on many cases is more likely to have significant experience preparing appellate case briefs and arguing cases in court.

An attorney’s success record is also critical when you are comparing appellate lawyers. It is important to keep in mind, however, that no lawyer will win all, or even most, of his cases. As such, a good way to choose may involve learning what an average record is for winning appellate cases in your jurisdiction. Then, you may focus your search on only those appellate lawyers who have better-than-average track records for success.

You may also consider peer reviews when you are attempting to compare appellate lawyers and choose the best one. A peer review rating system can give you an idea of how the attorneys you are considering are viewed in the legal community. A lawyer with a good rating can usually be depended upon to act in an ethical, competent manner.

Before you make your final decision, you may also compare appellate attorneys based on whether or not they will handle their own briefs. Likewise, you may question whether or not a lawyer on your list will have his own associates helping him or outsource legal research and brief writing to other companies. This sort of arrangement may not always be in your best interest.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

Terrificli

@Vinzenzo -- that is assuming the lawyer you approach gives a hoot about ethical rules. Most do, but some do not.

How can you find out if an attorney has a good track record when it comes to ethics? In most states, you can search for attorneys through the state supreme court registry and you can find out if a lawyer has been found in violation of the rules of ethics.

If a lawyer has been practicing for some time and has no violations on his or her record, then the chances are good that you are dealing with one that will tell you if he or she can handle a case or will refer it to another lawyer if necessary.

Vincenzo

Perhaps the best way to find a good appellate lawyer is to ask another attorney. That may sound counterintuitive but the ethical rules governing attorneys means it is a good idea.

An attorney is ethically prohibited from holding himself out as an expert in a field where he has little or no experience. Handling appeals is a highly specialized area of law, and an attorney should tell you if he is skilled in that area or not.

If the lawyer is not, then he should refer to you one that is. Again, the ethical rules come into play. An attorney who refers you to a bad lawyer may be on the hook ethically, so it is in the best interests of attorneys to refer cases to other lawyers that are qualified.

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    • It is important to consider the track record of the appellate lawyer that your are considering.
      It is important to consider the track record of the appellate lawyer that your are considering.