UPDATE: This post is included in Blawg Review #174 at Texas Appellate Law Blog.
Why don’t some trial lawyers or their clients engage appellate counsel when it comes time for the appeal? Over the years, I’ve heard various reasons advanced for this. Among them: lawyers see no need to hire new counsel for something they can do themselves, lawyers are afraid to lose the client forever to the appellate lawyer or his firm, lawyers and their clients are afraid that the appellate lawyer won’t know enough about the specialized area of law involved in the appeal, clients are too comfortable with the trial lawyer to switch, clients are fed up with bad experiences with their trial lawyer and do not want to experience the same frustration with an appellate attorney. Some lawyers may even be second-guessing themselves about how they handled the case in the trial court and thus may be concerned that a new lawyer would counsel the client that the trial lawyer screwed up.
I’m planning a series of posts to be spread out over several weeks (maybe longer) about why clients (and, probably even more so, their lawyers) are reluctant to engage appellate counsel for their appeal. I am not exploring the issue of why clients may not bother to appeal at all. Rather, I wil explore why, once a party is involved in an appeal, that party moves forward either with his trial lawyer as counsel on appeal or in pro per.
I would love to have your input on this project. If you have any objections to appellate lawyer representation that you would like me to write about, tell me about it in a comment on this post. Feel free to “second the motion” of other readers; I am more likely to write about objections that more people feel exist.
I would especially like to hear from: (1) trial lawyers who handle their own appeals; (2) appellate lawyers that encounter objections to retention; and (3) parties or former parties to lawsuits who either did not hire appellate counsel or had to have certain doubts removed before doing so. But feel free to offer ideas in the comments regardless of whether you fall into any of these categories.
(NOTE: To access all posts in this series to date, click on the link below called “On Reluctance to Engage Appellate Counsel.”)