How Can I Assist You?
The overwhelming majority of litigated cases are resolved at two junctures—motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment. At those critical junctures, legal writing is seminal in obtaining the best outcomes for your clients. You do so many things well, but no one can be great at every single task involved in bringing a case to a successful resolution. Legal writing is what I do. It is what I did during my federal appellate clerkship and what I did working for an international law firm in Washington, DC. If you do not enjoy writing and would rather focus your energy on other important tasks, then bringing me in can be a great way to benefit both yourself and your clients.
Trial Briefs & Motions
Preparing for trial is a chaotic, stressful, exhilarating time. Witness lists, exhibits, opening statements, closing arguments, cross-examination outlines, direct examination outlines, voir dire and jury selection outlines—there are myriad things which must be prepared. So why not give some tasks to an attorney whose focus is on legal writing? Motions in limine are critical in shaping the direction and scope of trial as well as preserving the record should an appeal be necessary. Bringing me in to handle these motions is a way both to remove a burden from yourself and to ensure that trial motions are given the attention they deserve.
If the trial court ruled in your favor, you know that a notice of appeal is coming from an adversary not yet prepared to give up the fight. If the trial court ruled against you, then your client is probably pressing you to file a notice of appeal as soon as possible. In either circumstance, settlement calculus has changed. I can provide a neutral read on the judgment and the record in order to make a sober assessment about the prospects of success on appeal. This evaluation can validate your existing beliefs about a case, help persuade a client to take a correct course of action, and provide confidence and assurance in your litigation strategy moving forward.
I focus my practice on appeals and stay abreast of developments in the case law and appellate rules and procedures. I was immersed in the judicial decision-making process at the federal level and bring those insights to bear. I am a generalist with experience in varied aspects of civil and criminal law so I can assist with any type of appellate issue you face. The more complicated and novel the legal issue, the better equipped I am to deliver results.
Why refer out an appeal?
As a trial lawyer, you are very busy with court appearances, client meetings, depositions, and travel. This does not leave time for the sort of extended reflection and research required to write an effective appellate brief. So why not focus your energy on what you do best and allow someone else to assist with the appellate process?
A few additional questions to consider:
Do you enjoy researching and writing appellate briefs?
Appellate litigation requires a different skill set than trial litigation. The bulk of appellate litigation is conducted on a computer—performing exhaustive legal research and writing the brief. Then an arduous editing process refines arguments. If the thought of spending hours and hours looking at your computer screen makes you shake your head in disgust, then why not refer the appeal to someone who enjoys and focuses on researching and writing appellate briefs?
Do you have time to write an appellate brief?
The sort of research needed to write a compelling appellate brief requires hours of reading and highlighting cases, statutes, and regulations. Writing an appellate brief takes hours of uninterrupted time in which to concentrate, and editing an appellate brief takes even longer. Your busy schedule may not allow the blocks of time needed to write an effective brief.
Can you be objective about the merits of the case on appeal?
As trial counsel, you lived and breathed a case long before a notice of appeal was filed. This means you know the case inside and out, but there are real benefits to having a fresh set of eyes review the factual and legal issues to assess the likelihood of success on appeal. Issues that were hotly disputed in the trial court may no longer be important after summary judgment or a jury verdict. Bringing in someone who did not wage those earlier battles makes it easier to focus appellate arguments on the determinative appellate issues.
Is it appropriate to "outsource" legal work?
Under ABA Opinion 08-451, "There is nothing unethical about a lawyer outsourcing legal and non-legal services, provided the outsourcing lawyer renders legal services to the client with the 'legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation,' as required by Rule 1.1."
Co-Counsel or Freelance Relationship?
The nature of our relationship will depend on the extent to which you desire my assistance. If you desire more limited involvement for tasks like research, reviewing briefs, or litigation strategy, then a freelance relationship will make the most sense. If you desire more extensive involvement such as preparing and signing briefs, motions, and pleadings, then a co-counsel relationship will be best. Under either scenario, it is my policy that the client be aware that I am working on its behalf and the extent of my involvement.
What about Attorney-Client Privilege?
If your client hires me directly, then attorney-client privilege exists by virtue of that relationship. If you hire me as a freelance attorney, then I am your agent acting at your direction and so am covered under the umbrella of attorney-client privilege.
Are there additional fees for research?
I do not generally charge additional fees for the costs of conducting legal research. The only exception to this is an unusually extensive research project, which will not commence until you have been notified and approve.