Choosing an Attorney for Appeals or Post Conviction Motions

Interviewer: Do people tend to use the same attorney that took them through trial to appeal or do they feel like the attorney didn’t serve them well and they seek a new one?

Randy Berman: It’s not too common to see that, for a couple of reasons. One reason is that if they lost with that attorney at trial they might lose confidence in them to want to engage them for the appeal. Also, if that attorney did something wrong or fell down on the job during the trial there could be some conflict or perceived conflict in that attorney being able to effectively call out his own work as not being proper. The other reason why you generally don’t see the trial attorney doing the appeal is that very few trial attorneys actually handle appeals. They generally relegate themselves to trial work and leave appellate work to people that concentrate on doing appeals. I like to do both and I’ve actually been handling more appeals and post-conviction matters in the recent years than trials. It’s probably, in my case, about a 50/50 split right now.

Interviewer: Do you get most of your appeal cases from other attorneys or are they your cases that you appeal?

Randy Berman: No. Almost exclusively these are new clients that call me. They’re looking for an attorney that can handle post-conviction work, whether it’s an appeal or a post-conviction motion, and they hire me to handle that fresh. However, I have been the trial attorney and the appellate attorney on a few occasions. One that comes to mind was a murder case where the jury convicted my client of the lesser offense of manslaughter. On appeal, I won a reversal of the conviction and the case was remanded for retrial, but this time the retrial was for manslaughter.


Interviewer: How about the clients that request that you file appeals? Are they a certain kind of person or does that rarely happen as well?

Randy Berman: It has nothing to do with demographics or age. It’s all about an unfair result that occurred at their trial that I can analyze, dissect, and find errors and issues with, to either get their case thrown out or get it remanded back for a new trial or some other relief.