29 Nov 23

Getting Help From a Federal Appeals Attorney

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Last Updated on: 15th December 2023, 06:41 pm

Getting Help From a Federal Appeals Attorney

Filing an appeal after losing a federal case can be complicated. There are strict deadlines and complex rules to follow. That’s why working with an experienced federal appeals attorney is so important.

An appeals attorney can help you understand if an appeal makes sense in your case. They can also handle all the paperwork and make the right legal arguments to give you the best chance of success.

Should You Appeal Your Federal Case?

Just because you lost at the trial level doesn’t necessarily mean you should appeal. Appeals are time-consuming and expensive. Your attorney will analyze your case to see if you have solid legal grounds for an appeal.

Some common reasons to appeal a federal criminal case include:

  • Improper jury instructions
  • Prosecutorial misconduct
  • Incorrect application of sentencing guidelines
  • Violation of your constitutional rights

In federal civil cases, you may appeal if the judge made an error applying the law or improperly excluded key evidence.

Your attorney will look at the trial record and the judge’s rulings. If they find significant legal errors, you likely have grounds for an appeal.

The Appeals Process

The first step is filing a notice of appeal within the deadline, which is usually 30 days after the final judgment. This preserves your right to appeal.

After that, your attorney will order transcripts of the trial proceedings. This record will be vital for identifying any legal errors to raise on appeal.

The next major step is filing an appeals brief, which lays out the legal arguments why you should win on appeal. This is often the most important part of the appeals process.

The government then files a response brief countering your arguments. Your attorney gets to file a final reply brief responding to the government.

Oral argument may also be held to allow the attorneys to argue the case before a panel of appeals judges.

Why Hire an Appeals Specialist?

An appeals attorney has special expertise handling appeals cases. Under federal court rules, they must be admitted to argue before the appeals court.

An appeals lawyer knows all the rules and deadlines to keep your appeal on track. They also know how appeals judges think and what kind of arguments might persuade them.

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Unlike a trial lawyer, an appeals attorney focuses on the record rather than witnesses and evidence. They scour the transcripts to identify technical and procedural mistakes the trial judge made.

An appeals specialist can give you an objective view on whether your case has issues worth appealing. If so, they know how to craft a winning argument to give you the best shot at victory.

How Much Does a Federal Appeal Cost?

Pursuing a federal appeal costs at least $10,000 to $15,000 on average. But it varies widely depending on:

  • The complexity of your legal case
  • Whether transcripts need ordered
  • How long the briefs are
  • If oral argument is granted

Be prepared for appeals to take over a year to resolve. But they can be worth it if you win a reversal or new trial.

Finding the Right Federal Appeals Lawyer

When looking for a federal appeals attorney, here are key credentials to seek out:

  • 10+ years handling federal appeals specifically
  • Past clerkship with a federal judge
  • Law degree from a top university
  • Published appeals decisions in reputable law journals

Also look for federal appeals specialists near the circuit court where your appeal will be heard. Local attorneys may have useful connections and insights into those judges.

Be sure to understand fee arrangements up front. Appeals lawyers typically charge flat fees or hourly billing.

Finding the right federal appeals attorney gives you the best chance to win your appeal. Reach out to seasoned appeals specialists to discuss your case today.

About the Author

Michael Smith is a former federal prosecutor who now runs Smith Appeals Law, handling federal appeals cases. He has successfully argued over 50 federal appeals. Contact Michael to discuss your potential appeal at (555) 123-4567 or


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