JIM P. MAHACEK, Certified Appellate Specialist

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About the Attorney
Attorney's Appellate Credentials
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What is a Certified Specialist?
Why shouldn't I use my trial attorney?
Trial Court vs. Appellate Court; the Difference
How does the appellate process work?
How long does an appeal take?
What does an Appeal Cost?
What the Certified Specialist can do for you
Appellate Terminology

This is always a fair question. But it is not easy to answer. Fundamentally, almost all appellate attorneys use one of three methods to charge for their services.
 
First: A few attorneys will use a contingency fee agreement. This means they pay the lawyer an agreed upon per cent age of what they win. This is common in personal injury cases in the trial court. This can work if you were the plaintiff in the superior court and are suing for money. It doesn't work well for a client who was a defendant and doesn't want to pay money. Issues concern the strength of your appeal, time involved to go through the process, and the "what if" if the Court of Appeal simply returns your case for a brand new trial.
 
Second:  This attorney is one of a minority of appellate attorneys that will take your appeal on a fixed fee. This means that the attorney and you will agree on a specific amount the attorney will charge you for his services. In addition to his fixed fee for his services you will also need to pay certain itemized out of pocket expenses that will be listed in your fee agreement. This option provides the client certainty as to the amount the appeal will cost the client.
 
Third: The dominant method is the hourly rate method. The attorney and the client agree that the attorney will charge the client by the amount of time the attorney spends on your case. This  makes it more difficult to predict the total cost. In addition to paying the appellate attorney's hourly rate the client will pay certain out of pocket costs.

Costs: In addition to the attorney's fee, the client will incur certain costs. These costs generally are very limited as compared to the trial court. These costs  include

  • filing fee for the appeal (the respondent has no filing fee);
  • the cost of the reporter's transcript (usually the most expensive cost): and
  • cost of photocopying the documents used in the trial court (called the Clerk's Transcript or Joint Appendix).

Payment options: This attorney has flexible payment options. He will work with the client to establish a "fixed fee" that the client will pay at the start. This will be the total amount the client pays for professional fees. The additional out of pocket costs will be charged as incurred. The attorney will also work to establish a "fixed fee" where the fee is not required "up front." The client would agree to a fixed fee paid in monthly installments by means of a pre authorization allowing the attorney to directly charge the clients' credit card. This is similar to common transactions where clients have authorized various companies, such as utility companies or auto fuel companies, to simply directly charge their account. Finally the attorney will work with the client as to a fee agreement based on a standard hourly agreement. The attorney believes that providing the client these three payment options assists the clients in making their appellate cost decisions.