December 06, 2019

Top Qualities of a Successful Appellate Attorney

Appellate law is a specialized area of legal expertise. Here’s what you need to know about the qualities that make for a successful appellate attorney.

Dallas, TX -- For a defendant in a criminal trial, the odds are stacked against them. According to Pew Research, only 2% of criminal cases make it to trial.(1) This is due to the fact that 90% of criminal cases end in a plea agreement where the defendant pleads guilty in return for a lighter sentence. The other 8% of criminal cases get dismissed but for those that do go to trial, the odds of a guilty verdict are high. Fortunately, it is possible to appeal the decision with the help of an appellate attorney. 

What Is an Appellate Attorney?

A guilty verdict isn’t always the end of a case. There may be circumstances in your case that were not handled correctly, and this can open the door for an appeals process to begin. While any attorney can go through the motions of an appeal, answering the question of “what is an appellate attorney” can help you determine whether specialized legal counsel can help change the course of your future. 

An appellate attorney is a lawyer who has specialized experience in appellate law. They’re knowledgeable in the appeals process, and how to present a compelling case to appellate judges in the District Court of Appeals. A successful appeal must be based on the occurrence of legal error, which can often be difficult to identify and prove. The knowledge and experience that a specialized appellate attorney brings to the table can increase the chances of the appellate course viewing your appeal favorably. 

What to Look For In An Appellate Attorney 

The defense attorney who handled your case is qualified to initiate and follow through on an appeal. However, your defense attorney isn’t always the best person to handle this task, and it has nothing to do with their ability to defend you in court. An appellate attorney brings more than a fresh perspective to you case. When looking at legal counsel to handle your appeal, here are the top qualities to look for in an appellate attorney. 

  1. Experience. You’ll want to choose an attorney that has actual experience in post-conviction proceedings. There’s more to appellate law than “book knowledge”, and it can take an inexperienced attorney years to gain the experience necessary to master the art of presenting a compelling case to the appellate courts. Never hesitate to ask about your attorney’s experience and years working specifically with appellate cases. 
  2. Follow Through. You want the attorney you speak to and consult on your case to be the one who handles your appeal from start to finish. A successful appellate attorney will want to handle your case personally, build a relationship with you as a client, and leave nothing up to chance by having others step in. 
  3. Honesty. Unfortunately, there are attorneys out there who will take any case just to pad their own pockets with the legal fees they charge you. Hiring an appellate attorney can be an expense, and your attorney owes it to you to be completely and openly transparent in regard to your odds of winning an appeal. The reality is that few appeals are given consideration by the appellate courts. Look for an attorney who is enthusiastic about your case, but not falsely optimistic. 
  4. Communication. An experienced appellate attorney should make communication with their clients a high priority. However, their communication skills need to expand further than this. Successful appellate attorneys are skilled, effective orators who can present a compelling oral argument on your behalf. They should also be excellent writers who can compose legal briefs that effectively establish your case. 
  5. Cost. There is a general perception that the most expensive appellate attorney is also the most successful. When choosing your attorney, consider all the above elements over the how much they charge. A high-priced attorney may have limited experience in appellate law simply because their fees limit their client base. Similarly, an attorney whose fees are too low might be too overburdened with other cases to properly defend your appeal. 

Seek the Guidance of an Appellate Attorney In Dallas 

When you’re facing a guilty verdict, and the sentencing that goes along with it, there’s no time to waste in contacting an appellate attorney in Dallas to handle your case. There are time limits on filing for an appeal, so the sooner you reach out to an attorney who is experienced in appellate law, the better. Don’t wait another day, contact an experienced, reputable appellate attorney today. 

Broden & Mickelsen, PC - Best Dallas Criminal Appeals Lawyer 

Both Clint Broden and Mick Mickelsen have extensive experience representing individuals on appeal. In 2011, the Texas Board Legal Specialization allowed for attorneys to become certified in criminal appeals. Not only were Clint Broden and Mick Mickelsen in that first group to be certified, the firm has decades of experience representing clients on appeal in federal and Texas courts around the country.

Visit Broden & Mickelsen, PC’s law office in Dallas here.



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