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South Dakota Appeals & Appellate Lawyers

Brian Donahoe avatar
Born in South Dakota and raised in NW Iowa, I sought higher education back in South Dakota at SDSU. Following graduation there, I worked for a construction and ...

Whenever a legal case goes to a trial court, judges will look over the evidence and speak to witnesses to determine whether the defendant is responsible for the charges held against them. But after a judgment has been decided, it is not necessarily final. The defendant can choose to appeal to the higher courts in the hope of an alternative outcome. The lawyers within your region working on appeals are known as South Dakota appellate lawyers, and it is their job to prove to the appeals court that the judgment against you should be reversed.

If you’re looking for a South Dakota appellate attorney, you’re in the right place. In this article, we discuss their role, what they do, and when you need to hire one. We also offer tips on how to choose the best appellate lawyer in South Dakota for your best chance of a change of the results of the judgment.

What is an Appellate Lawyer?

An appellate lawyer in South Dakota is a professional attorney that specializes in appellate law. They evaluate cases that have gone to trial and since been appealed to the courts. They take the cases from trial courts and try to find an angle that the trial lawyer missed. Their purpose sounds simple – they are hoping to overturn the judgment given by a lower court or correct an error made in the case. However, this purpose is easier said than done. Their role revolves around looking at all the evidence, related laws, and conduct of others involved in the case and can be complex to do successfully.

What Does an Appellate Lawyer Do?

The main job of a South Dakota appellate lawyer is to create a brief for filing before the appellate courts. This document is essentially a written argument explaining why the trial court made a mistake in its judgment of the case. It includes a review of everything that was presented in the lower courts, including citations and relevant evidence, followed by an argument as to why the judgment should be reversed. It must be written in a particular legal format to be accepted by the courts, and the more compelling the argument, the more likely courts will overturn the judgment. The lawyer may also have to make an oral argument before the court.

When to Hire an Appellate Lawyer in South Dakota

Anyone with a civil or criminal case should consider hiring a lawyer for appellate in South Dakota. Appeals are serious, and their outcome can have tremendous effects on your sentencing and life as a whole. Below are just some of the benefits that appointing appellate counsel will bring:

  • Fresh Perspective: A trial lawyer already knows all the ins and outs of your case, which might be useful. However, once a judgment has been made, it is best to get a new set of eyes for the appeal. This can give a fresh perspective on the case, and errors or loopholes previously missed can be explored.
  • Effective Presentation: Appeals are not the same as trials. While a trial attorney is great at arguing your case on the stand, South Dakota appellate lawyers are excellent at written argument. What’s more, they know how to present this information to the judge in the correct format and in a way that will grab their attention.
  • Knowledge of Appeals: A lawyer for appellate in South Dakota only ever deals with appeals, and appellate work is unique from most other areas of the law. They know specifics about the system, including when to file, where to file, and how to file. For the best chance of a successful appeal, you’ll want an appellate lawyer by your side.

How Do I Choose an Appellate Lawyer in South Dakota?

Not all South Dakota appellate attorneys are on par. And when searching for legal counsel to handle your case, you’ll want to hire the best appellate lawyer in South Dakota possible. Below are some key questions to ask before appointing a law firm:

  • Experience: How much real-world experience does the law firm have with writing appeal briefs? Do they have experience in appealing cases similar to yours? Were they successful in winning any of their appeals?
  • Relationship: Will the same South Dakota appellate lawyer be working on your case from start to finish? Will you get the chance to build a relationship? Does the attorney seem genuinely interested in your case?
  • Communication: What communication channels will they use to contact you? Do these align with your preferred methods of communication? Have you seen examples of their written communication which is essential for brief writing?
  • Cost: How much is the appellate lawyer charging to work on your case? Do these legal fees fit your budget? Does their price accurately reflect their experience and success rates in the past?

How Much Does the Average Appellate Lawyer in South Dakota Cost?

As with all litigation, hiring a South Dakota appellate lawyer is notoriously expensive. There is also many variations between law firms besides the case complexity affecting the time and cost of the proceedings. On average, most can expect to pay around $10,000 in legal fees. However, this could easily rise to $30,000 for successful and experienced law firms handling complex cases.

Do Appellate Attorneys Usually Charge for Consultations?

Most law firms will charge for consultations. When choosing an appellate lawyer in South Dakota, make sure you check whether there are any associated fees or not. Some appellate counsel will charge a flat consultation fee, whereas others will charge you for their time at their regular hourly rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is an appellate lawyer different from a trial lawyer?

Trial attorneys are responsible for the initial investigation into cases and negotiate with the prosecution to try and reach a settlement. Where a settlement cannot be reached, the trial lawyer fights the case in court. On the other hand, appellate lawyers don’t search for evidence and instead look over the case proceedings thus far. They then write a written brief explaining their argument.

What kinds of cases get to a US appellate court?

Most cases that go to appeal are due to a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights with local, state, or federal governments. These can be civil cases, criminal cases, bankruptcy cases, or a range of other appeals.