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How to Select a Criminal Appeal Lawyer

Posted on 13 February, 2019 at 13:30

How to Select a Criminal Appeal Lawyer


Often criminal defendants who lost at trial want to appeal their conviction. Most of the time, a person convicted of a crime does not know what to look for when selecting a an attorney to handle an appeal.


Here are seven things you should look for when selecting a criminal appeal lawyer are: 


1.  A Criminal Appeal Lawyer Shows Actual Interest - A professional appellate lawyer will show a sincere interest in your case. The lawyer will ask questions regarding about the date of conviction and sentence. Also, a good appellate attorney will inquire about the hotly contested issues at trial. These contested issues will often form the basis of the appeal. A well-respected appellate lawyer will also inquire about pre-trial motions filed by the defense and the prosecution. Further, an appellate lawyer will also ask to review the jury instructions administered at trial.


2.  A Criminal Appeal Attorney Has an Initial Strategy - The good appellate lawyer will also develop an initial strategy after reviewing your case file. This strategy will provide a road map as to the appellate issues that need to be addressed by the appellate court. Of course, the smart appellate lawyer will pinpoint or modify additional appellate issues as the appellate brief is formulated.


3.  Research Driven Appeal- A professional criminal appeals lawyer should explain to you that much research will be needed to complete a strong appeal. You cannot wing an appeal. An appeal is won when strong appellate issues are identified by a criminal appeals lawyer. Thereafter, a compelling statement of facts supports powerful case law which results in a strong legal argument. However, this takes time and intensive research. A professional appellate lawyer will spend numerous hours scouring the trial transcript and researching dozens upon dozens of cases regarding the legal issues involved in your appeal. Simply put, tremendous research effort is needed for a successful criminal appeal.


4.  A Criminal Appeal Attorney Has Legal Writing that is Crisp and Persuasive - A good appellate attorney must have a clean, persuasive writing style. The brief cannot be too wordy nor can it delve into legal issues in a peripheral manner. This takes a tremendous skillset whereas a good criminal appeals lawyer must take voluminous trial transcripts and countless legal cases and boil them into a cohesive, powerful argument that is usually between 25-50 pages long. The average criminal attorney does not usually have this skill set. As a result, a professional criminal appeals lawyer is the appropriate attorney to handle a criminal appeal.


5.  A Good Criminal Appeal Attorney Learns the Record on Appeal- A good criminal appeal attorney reads the entire lower court record. The only way to understand the case and identify preserved issues is to read the indictment, review the motions and read the transcripts thoroughly. A lawyer who does not take this critical step seriously will rarely be able to construct a winning appellate argument.


6.  Returns Calls - Many lawyers rarely return client phone calls. This is not a good idea whereas constant, honest communication is required with the client and the criminal appellate lawyer. So make sure the criminal appeals attorney answers your calls quickly and readily before taking on the case. This is a good sign that communication is considered important and respected by the firm.


7.  Enjoys the Work of Appellate Law - The criminal appellate attorney you are considering is to be respected. Let them talk about your case and potential strategies on appeal. This will give you an opportunity to see whether this appellate lawyer shows a zest for appellate law. A competent criminal appellate attorney will exhibit enthusiasm and discuss the many legal issues involved in your case. So tell your side of the story, but then be prepared to listen.


Written by:   John V. Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (617) 959-1628

Email           [email protected]


If you have a criminal appeal and would like to speak with an appellate attorney at Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP, contact us at either (646) 942-1798 or (617) 959-1628.


Disclaimer: This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


Categories: Appeals 101