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Top 25 Questions to Ask Your Criminal Appeal Lawyer

Introduction

If you have to file a criminal appeal, you already know that you need to hire a criminal appeals lawyer. But how do you find the right one? With so many lawyers making many promises to you, it’s important to know which questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer.

In this article, we’ll outline the most important questions to ask a criminal appeal attorney before hiring them. That way, you can be confident about your choice.

Questions to Ask Criminal Defense Appeal Attorney: The Financial Aspects

1. Do you offer an initial consultation free of charge?

Many lawyers offer a free consultation, during which you will have the opportunity to present the details of your case. After speaking with you and reviewing the details, they should be able to give you an idea of how they would handle the case and their fees.

2. What are the actual legal fees associated with my case?

Lawyers are expensive, which is why one of the first questions to ask a criminal defense appeal attorney involves money. What do they charge, and when? Also, don’t forget to ask what happens if your case goes to trial, as that can increase your costs exponentially.

3. Do you charge by the hour or do you have an inclusive fee?

Every lawyer is different when it comes to how they charge their clients. Some charge an hourly rate while others charge for specific services. Either way, you’ll typically need to pay some kind of retainer upfront.

You need to know everything you can about the financials, which is why these are great questions to ask a criminal appeal attorney before hiring them.

4. Do you offer payment plans?

Many people who are faced with criminal appeals have already spent a lot of money on legal fees. It doesn’t hurt to ask about payment plans as one of your questions to ask a criminal defense appellate attorney.

Questions to Ask Criminal Appeal Lawyer: The Attorney’s Experience

5. Does your practice focus mainly or exclusively on criminal law?

Many firms take cases for which they are not experts. Even if your particular attorney handles only criminal law or appeals, they won’t have the resources of an experienced team if it isn’t the firm’s main focus. That’s why these are crucial questions to ask a criminal appeal lawyer.  Be sure to inquire how many appeals they have handled so far as well.

6. What percentage of the practice is devoted to appellate criminal law?

A list of criminal defense appeal attorney questions must involve many about their past experience. This one helps you make sure that the attorney you hire has specific experience in what you need the most.

7. How long have you been practicing as a criminal defense appeal lawyer?

Keep in mind when including this as one of your questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer: new isn’t always bad. Young lawyers who are freshly barred are often quite passionate and devoted. If they are relatively new to the area, just make sure they have appropriate resources for when they need assistance.

8. Are you certified by the state bar or supreme court as a criminal appeals lawyer?

Anyone practicing law has passed the bar exam; otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to do so legally. But this is still an essential question to ask a criminal defense appeal attorney because, once again, you want them to be an expert in your particular type of case.

9. Do you have specific experience with cases like mine?

If you’ve established that they are certified in criminal appeals, you still want to ask about specific cases like yours as one of your questions to ask criminal appeal lawyers. If they have, they should be able to give you specific examples from their experience.

10. How many appeals cases have you argued at the courthouse where mine will be held?

This is a critical question to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer. It might not seem like it makes a difference, but if they’ve argued at the same place, they’re familiar with how the building works, the staff, and potentially the judges. All of this can make a difference.

11. Have you ever overturned a criminal or civil judgment?

Of all of the criminal defense appeal attorney questions to ask, this is one of the most important. It doesn’t matter how many cases your potential attorney has argued if they haven’t done so successfully.

You may also want to ask for details about the appeals cases they have won and lost. Including that as one of your questions to ask a criminal defense appeal attorney helps give you an idea of your chances.

12. How often do your cases go to trial?

Going to trial isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you still want to have an idea of the likelihood of this happening to you, so be sure to include it as one of your questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer.

13. To which professional organizations do you belong?

This isn’t an absolutely crucial element, but asking this as one of your questions to ask a criminal defense appeal attorney helps give you an idea of how active they are in their field and how passionate they are about their work.

14. Ask for writing samples.

This might seem like a more minor question to ask criminal appeal lawyers, but the writing of your brief and other legal documents has a bearing on the outcome of your case.

15. Where can I read actual reviews?

Not all attorneys have reviews, but true, accurate ones can be hard to find online. Some attorneys compile some form of them, so this is a good question to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer.

16. What issues have you had with past clients?

A reputable lawyer should answer this question to ask a criminal defense appeal attorney honestly, giving an explanation for their past clients’ discontent with their work. That can give you an idea of what to expect from them.

17. Are you confident that you can handle this case?

For some people, it might be awkward to ask this good criminal defense appeal attorney question, but it’s still an essential one. They should be confident about an affirmative answer, and their tone of voice may tell you something as well.

 

In addition, consider asking: “Is this a job for more than just you?” as one of your questions to ask a criminal appeal lawyer.

Questions to Ask a Criminal Defense Appellate Lawyer: How Your Case Will Be Handled

18. Who will actually handle my case?

When compiling your questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer, you should be aware that the lawyer you hire won’t be the only one working on your case, and you want to know who else it might be. Will it be you or will it be turned over to a case manager, junior lawyer, or another assistant?

19. Ask for an honest opinion on the outcome of your case.

When you present this question to ask a criminal defense appeal attorney, you likely won’t get a definite answer, but that’s a good sign. What you want to know is that the attorney can walk you through several possible outcomes and help you weigh your options.

20. What strategies and tactics will you use?

Whether you have an idea of how you want them to handle your case or not, this is still a crucial question to ask a criminal appeal attorney. You don’t want to be blindsided by tactics of which you don’t approve or with which you disagree.

21. How often will I hear from you?

Not hearing from your lawyer can be one of the most frustrating parts of an appeal, especially since the courts sometimes run slow. This fact makes this one of the most essential questions to ask a criminal appeal lawyer. Get an idea of how communicative they will be upfront.

22. Who will write the brief? Who will argue my case?

Right alongside who will handle your case, get more details about the most important aspects by asking this as one of your questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer. Once again, you don’t want any surprises with the handling of these critically important parts of your case.

23. Is this more than just a job for you?

This is an honest question to ask a criminal defense appellate attorney, and it warrants an honest answer on their part. Reputable lawyers should never take a case they cannot handle. They may recommend outside resources or even recommend another firm.

Questions to Ask Yourself

24. Does this attorney make you feel confident?

A criminal appeal is stressful enough by itself; you don’t need to feel insecure about the decision to hire your lawyer and wonder all along if you made a good or bad choice. Do some serious soul-searching before signing anything binding.

25. How does this attorney treat you?

Equally important, you want to work with someone who treats you with dignity and respect, who listens to your needs and objectives, and who can engage you in meaningful communication. In short, you need someone who treats you like a human being who is deserving of all of those things.

Hire the Best by Asking Good Criminal Defense Appeal Attorney Questions

By starting with the above questions to ask a criminal defense appellate lawyer, you can be sure that you hire the best lawyer to handle your case.

Authors
Federal Appeal Lawyers In Antitrust
Author Name
Robert L Sirianni
(888) 233-8895
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