Choosing a good lawyer to help you with a case, such as wrongful death, contract dispute, employment termination; asset forfeiture, and excessive force, can be very difficult.
Many blog posts advise you to make sure that (1) you feel comfortable with the lawyer you choose and that (2) the lawyer you choose has sound experience and understanding in the area you need representation in. While all that is true, there is one area that also demonstrates the quality of representation you will be obtaining to handle your case: your lawyer’s willingness and ability to handle an appeal of your case in front of a higher court.
Foremost, you may not read a lot of blog posts that talk about handling an appeal of your case in front of higher courts, because that means something may have went wrong with your case in the lower court. But here’s the reality: when you are going up against cities, school districts; law enforcement officials; public officials; big corporations; and hospitals–whether you win or lose at the lower court (trial court), one party is going to appeal, or threaten to appeal the loss, to the higher court (Appeals Court).
I emphasized “win or lose” because there exist two sides to an appeal. If your opponent appeals, that means you won at the lower court level. That also means on appeal, you have the favorable position of having the Appeals Court review the situation with a slant toward upholding your victory.
However, being in a favorable position on appeal does not mean the Appeal is any less difficult. Whether you are in a favorable or less favorable position, your lawyer must understand the appeals process, the various legal standards that must be known and followed, in order to make sure your victory at the lower court has the best chance of not being reversed by the higher court, or to make sure a bad result at the lower court is reversed in your favor.
In sum, making sure that your attorney is also a good appellant attorney increases your ability to get the result you want at the higher court level. But there is another reason that you should inquire about your lawyer’s skill level in relation to appeals:
When your opponent knows that your attorney will both appeal and defend against appeals, successfully, your opponent knows your attorney will “fight to the end.” This is of utmost importance because although you must have an attorney that prepares your case as if it’s going to trial, the reality is that most cases settle.
The amount of money you are offered to settle your case depends on several factors beyond the significance of your injury. One of the factors your opponent will consider is how much time and money is going to be spent trying to stop you from winning.
Again, when the opponent knows your attorney is going to “fight to the end,” meaning your attorney is going to appeal (and defend against appeals) with vigor and competency, you are much more likely to receive a settlement offer that you agree with, provided you have a reasonably strong case with respect to the facts of your case as they apply to relevant law. And that is what we do.
For example, Williams Oinonen LLC recently represented a gentleman in North Georgia who had his truck wrongfully forfeited by the government. The trial court judge ruled in favor of the state. Williams Oinonen LLC appealed the decision to the Georgia Court of Appeals, arguing that it was unconstitutional. The Appeals Court reversed theTrial Court’s decision and our client was able to receive his $25,000 truck back.
A couple months ago, Williams Oinonen LLC won an appeal before the Georgia State Board of Education, ruling that an educator’s non-renewal should be reversed, and implementing good law that impacts every educator throughout the state of Georgia.
In another incident this past year, Williams Oinonen LLC successfully won an appeal in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals involving a wrongful death, civil rights constitutional claim. In this case, our clients wrongful death claims were permitted to move forward within federal court.
Whether it is a $25,000 truck or a wrongful death, Williams Oinonen LLC is not afraid of appeals and not afraid to go the distance to fight hard and long. Because of this, we are grateful to be able to better serve our clients.