We generally accept cases in one of two ways - either from the lawyer who tried the case or from the client directly. Most often, we are contacted by and work exclusively with the trial lawyer with little to no direct contact with the client. We recognize the importance of a strong relationship between the trial lawyer and client, so we dutifully avoid interfering with that relationship.
If a client is already represented by a trial lawyer and is interested in retaining separate appellate counsel, we recommend the client consult with that lawyer first. Just because a client happens to lose at trial rarely means that the trial lawyer did a poor job or should be fired. In some cases, however, the client or the client's family will contact and retain our firm directly.
We have the flexibility to agree to a variety of fee options depending on the circumstances of the case. We can bill on an hourly basis and will occasionally handle a matter on a fixed fee basis. In appropriate cases, we are willing to condition the amount of our fee on the degree of success. For example, we typically defend personal injury or malpractice judgments and occasionally prosecute appeals of defense judgments on a pure contingency basis. We also consider hybrid fee arrangements, such as charging a relatively low hourly rate up front in exchange for a relatively high additional fee if we are successful. Absent special arrangements, the client (or trial counsel, where appropriate) remains responsible for out-of-pocket expenses.
Because of our experience, level of expertise, and reputation, our fees tend to be on the high end of the market. Another lawyer who charges a lesser fee can usually be found if that is the client's most important consideration. We endeavor to provide clients with cost estimates up front, but it is often impossible to estimate with precision. Unless we agree to a fixed fee or cap on our fees in writing at the beginning of the representation, the client should be prepared for the possibility that an estimate will be exceeded.
While our firm handles and has been recognized for its substantial pro bono work, we rarely accept a case on a pro bono basis based solely on a potential client calling or writing. Most of our pro bono work comes from appointments by the courts or referrals from other lawyers or legal aid organizations.
We frequently receive unsolicited requests for advice or representation from potential clients - often inmates. Regrettably, the high volume prevents us from responding to all such requests.