Expertise in Pennsylvania Appeals

Do I Need an Appellate Attorney?

If you’ve made it to this webpage, you’re probably asking yourself, “Do I really need an appeals lawyer?” Appellate law is an entirely different beast compared to trial court lawyering. Many of the best trial lawyers admit (within our circles) they are terrible appellate lawyers and don’t like taking appeals. Most Commonwealth trial court attorneys would seek a specialized Pennsylvania appellate attorney if they wanted to win an appeal. Why is that? Trial lawyers are the schmoozers of our profession. They’re excel at persuading juries, telling stories, and arguing facts. Although an appellate attorney may have those skills, we specialize in researching, writing, and arguing points of law (whereas trial lawyers generally argue facts). The judges of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, and the Supreme Court don’t settle facts — they settle law. The first few words spoken by judges at oral argument are typically, “We have read your briefs; please don’t talk about the facts of your case.” These judges demand intelligent debate about law, and could care less about facts. Trial attorneys are often not prepared to rise to this unique challenge.

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Most Attorneys Make BAD Appellate Attorneys

Most attorneys will offer to appeal your case (for a price) when they lose at trial. But the truth is that most trial attorneys are not good appellate attorneys. I specialize in arguing law to the Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, and the Supreme Court. Trial attorneys are great at arguing facts. For an appellate advocate you need an appeals attorney fluent in arguing law to judges.

Advanced Technology

Many lawyers joke about how they can’t even turn on their computers. In the 21st Century, that’s a disservice to our clients. I use the latest and greatest technology both in and out of the courtroom. At oral argument, I have your entire file on my iPad in case I need to reference a case or your trial transcript.

I even use a program that allows me to securely share files with my clients so you can see court documents as soon as I create them (or receive them from the court). Through the use of this program we can send each other secure messages about your case. Your privacy is one of my greatest concerns.

I’m a Philadelphia Attorney But It Doesn’t Matter Where You Live

My office is in Philadelphia (and I live here as well) but it doesn’t matter where you won or lost your trial. The appeals court judges hear 99% of all cases in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Harrisburg. I can travel to anywhere the court hears your case and I can take an appeal from any county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — we’ll send a courier to get your case file from your attorney (or you can hand it to me), we will obtain your trial transcript, and you’ll be ready to move on with your life and start your appeal. Live far away and want access to me more than once in a blue moon? We can set up Skype conference calls to discuss anything on your mind. We can even do our initial consultation that way if you would prefer.

clock-ticking

Appeals are very time sensitive. Once you’ve been sentenced a series of timers begin ticking down and once they hit zero you may lose your ability to appeal your case forever.

That’s why it’s incredibly important you consult with an appellate attorney before you waive your rights. Take a look below at just a few of deadlines that may already be running against you.

The number of days you have after sentencing to preserve some of your appellate arguments.

Number of days you have to file your appeal after you're sentenced (or after your post-sentencing motion is decided).

The number of days you are typically given to explain your reason for appealing to the trial court (known as the Concise Statement of Matters Complained of on Appeal).

If a court doesn't rule on your post-sentencing motion, after 120 days it is automatically denied.

Attorney Auriemma is a very skilled litigator. While he is best known as an appellate advocate at The McShane Firm where he uses his reputation, knowledge, and experience in the appellate courts of Pennsylvania to successfully defend the motorist accused, he is also quite a skilled trial attorney. I will not go to trial without his counsel and without his efforts. I absolutely trust him. I cannot recommend him highly enough.

Justin McShane

Attorney Auriemma is the most intelligent and hardest working attorney I’ve ever met. He works tirelessly for his clients and is known for pulling all-nighters in the office in order to make sure his work is perfect. He is constantly researching the law to make sure he’s up on the most current legal decisions. I consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to not only work with him, but also learn from him as well. He has achieved numerous favorable results at the appellate level and I would trust him to represent even my closest family members. I highly recommend Attorney Auriemma.

Jenna Fliszar

Josh has been an integral part of the success of The McShane Firm from the day he joined our ranks. His extensive knowledge of the appellate system, combined with his focused efforts in the area of appellate research and writing have produced favorable rulings on numerous occasions. Josh is a fantastic legal writer and tireless researcher that is absolutely a key asset to the success of The McShane Firm.

David Hoover

No one has a better appreciation for a counselor’s lawyering skills than other advocates. To the left I’ve excerpted attorneys’ reviews of my work from my Avvo profile.

I work very hard to maintain a great reputation with both my clients and other attorneys.

While one should always be at least a bit suspect of testimonials, I firmly believe you will agree after working with me that these descriptions fairly describe my work ethic and legal advocacy skills.

What Does it Cost?

Most firms will make you call to get any idea of what they charge. While it’s true that every case is unique and requires assessment by a qualified attorney, you should know that my appeals begin at $3000 and the cost will increase depending on the complexity of the case. You may be able to find a cheaper attorney to represent you for your appeal, but you absolutely should not bargain with an attorney who undercuts prices to create a “volume practice” where you and your case will not receive the attention it deserves.

Some fees not built into the cost that you should expect:

  • Filing fees
  • Cost to obtain your trial lawyer’s file
  • Postage and service fees
  • Printing, scanning, and binding fees
  • Transcript fees — we are required to pay the court reporter for these by law; cost varies greatly by transcript length and jurisdiction
  • Travel expenses if we both agree oral argument is warranted — we will discuss reasons for and against oral argument during the consultation

Payment plans are available upon request.

Services I Provide

Start-to-finish Pennsylvania appeals

This is the standard appeal. Your case is complete at the trial level and you need an appellate attorney to take over your case.

Post-sentencing motions

Some appellate issues can be waived if they are not raised in an post-sentence motion. You have 10 days after your sentencing to file a post-sentence motion (PSM) or you lose the ability to file one with the trial court.

Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) Petitions

If you’ve been convicted, sentenced, and your appeal is finalized, you still have several options to get your case back in front of a judge. Note that I will only accept PCRA cases in extreme cases as they will almost always involve extensive travel.

Petitions for Allocatur

If you’d like to ask the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to hear your case, you’ll need to file a petition for allocatur or a petition for allowance of appeal. I will always give you an honest opinion of my assessment of your chances for a grant of allocatur.

Petitions for Rehearing / Reargument En Banc

After losing an appeal at the Superior Court there is often a short window to ask more judges of the court to hear it again. It’s exceptionally rare, but you should have someone with experience before en banc panels heading your appeal.

Second-chairing trials for issue preservation
Unless your trial attorney makes a timely, specific objection during your trial, you will not be able to argue the issue during your appeal. Trials are famously fast-paced and trial attorneys often have a better grasp of the facts than the law. I can sit with your attorney during a hearing or trial and confer with your attorney where appropriate to ensure your issues are preserved for appeal. Many, many cases are immediately dismissed because a trial attorney neglected to make a specific objection — don’t gamble with your life or your finances.
Consultations with in-state or out-of-state attorneys
This is a particularly great option if you would like to keep your trial attorney involved in the appeal but recognize the benefits of retaining an appellate attorney taking point on your case. Together we can frame the trial not only so that you have the best possible chance of winning your trial, but such that your success won’t be overturned during an appeal or, in other cases, such that you are positioned to overturn the trial court verdict at an appeal.
Copyediting

I can edit draft briefs, motions, press-releases, law review articles, and publications.

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