Appellate Law Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Reasons a Trial Lawyer Brings in Another Lawyer to Handle the Appeal?
  1. Good appellate lawyers have developed special skills suited for appellate litigation
  2. Appellate lawyers typically have more experience in appellate courts
  3. An appellate lawyer’s perspective has advantages over the perspective of the lawyer that tried the case
  4. Utilizing an appellate lawyer is an effective tool for risk management
  5. Referring out an appeal can free up time for the trial lawyer to do what he or she does best
  6. Appellate justices preference for the approach of the experienced appellate attorney

What Are the Differences Between Trials and Appeals?
  • Appeals are heard by a panel of three appellate judges and are
  • determined by a majority vote.
  • Appellate courts review what the trial court did to determine whether the trial court made any legal mistakes.
  • Appellate courts review an appeal which is presented by writing legal “briefs” and, in many appeals, appearing before the panel of judges to present an argument and answer questions from the judges. The Appellate courts review only the evidence presented to the trial court.
  • The Procedural Rules are often strictly applied. A party on appeal must:
    • demonstrate that the judgment under review is one that the appellate court has authority to review;
    • point to the places in the trial court’s “record” (a written transcript of everything that was said during trial) where the alleged mistake was made and demonstrate that the mistake was “preserved” for review by the appellate court;
    • understand what kind of review the appellate court will undertake (for example, some rulings are reviewed without any deference to the trial court, while others are reviewed only to determine whether the trial court abused its authority); and
    • comply with a myriad of deadlines and format requirements.

Are There Differences Between a Trial and an Appellate Lawyer?
    An appellate attorney must:

  • gain a thorough understanding of what was actually presented to the trial court
  • research the relevant statutes, regulations, and court decisions in other cases
  • prepare a concise written brief to be reviewed by three judges and their law clerks, and
  • be able to have an in-depth dialog with the appellate court about the case and how the law should be developed in that area.

What Support Services Benefit Can an Appellate Attorney Provide Trial Lawyers?

Before The Trial – Research and analyze key issues of law, brief and argue dispositive motions. Effective research and briefing in the trial court can often mean the difference between ultimate success and failure on appeal.
During The Trial – A trial lawyer can better focus on the flow of the trial if an appellate lawyer is there to focus on issues of preserving legal issues in the record.
After The Trial – Even where it is clear that the trial judge will deny a motion for new trial, retaining an appellate attorney to prepare a thorough and effective motion can improve the chances of a favorable appeal or settlement offer.

What Are Your Fee Agreements?
  • Hourly rate
  • Fixed fee
  • Contingency fee basis
  • Hybrid arrangements (e.g., a reduced hourly rate with a contingency multiplier) are also considered.

Fee arrangements are typically negotiated with the trial lawyer who communicates them to the client for approval.

Where Do You Handle Appeals?
  • All areas of the Civil Law in Texas state courts.
  • All areas of the Civil Law, except Bankruptcy, in federal courts throughout the country.

In What Practice Areas?
  • Commercial litigation
  • Personal injury
  • Professional negligence
  • Construction
  • Labor
  • Administrative
  • Family
  • Probate

How Many Appeals Have You Handled?

Attorney Walter James Kronzer has been involved in over 150 cases.

Attorney Kronzer is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is Mediator Certified by A.A. White Institute.