The reality is that every lawyer has different skills, just like a surgeon has different aptitudes than a family doctor. Yet many lawyers either choose to handle their own appeals or do not engage an appellate lawyer with the specialized knowledge and experience to avoid the problems (in other words, losses) than can flow from having the wrong lawyer write the wrong brief. Hire a lawyer who knows how to handle an appeal. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC regularly handle appeals.
Among the reasons it pays to hire an appellate specialist is because how the issues (the questions raised on appeal) are presented is by itself a reason that lots of cases don’t turn out the way a party wants. Even worse, if you are seeking review in a court like the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which selects the cases it will hear, the way the questions are written is the reason frequently that the courts agrees to hear a case, or not to hear a case.
Just today, another lawyer asked us to look over a brief she was preparing. We always examine the Questions (Issues) Presented first. What did we discover? Six issues, each one over 100 words of legalese long, each one requiring an interpreter and perhaps a skilled explorer to locate the real questions being raised. It was a challenge for us just to read the questions, let alone understand them.
Eventually, however, we figured out what questions were being presented. Guess what? The lawyer was really only raising one question, with a couple of permutations. I took to my computer and parsed the attorney’s 397 words into 69 words with one question and five bullet points:
Whether the trial Court erred by granting Preliminary Objections and:
- failing to accept as true all well-pleaded, material and relevant facts, and drawing every inference reasonably deducible therefrom in Appellant’s favor,
- considering matters outside of the pleadings,
- failing to properly consider Plaintiff’s allegations in the Complaint,
- making determinations that are reserved for the factfinder, and
- granting relief based upon a prior lawsuit that did not seek the same relief?
In other words, we chopped out the fat and focused the question while still assuring that all potential errors could be raised and reviewed by the appeals court.
Of course, we are accustomed to being in appeals courts. We do it all the time, and we present our cases in a careful manner that appellate courts like. But then again, you wouldn’t hire us to handle a complex bankruptcy matter and you wouldn’t hire a dermatologist to perform brain surgery. You focus on the person’s experience and skills. Not every lawyer is an experienced appellate lawyer (nor is every lawyer an experienced bankruptcy lawyer). That’s the point. Give us a call if you believe you have an appeal on the horizon.