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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appeal?

An appeal is a legal procedure for seeking review of a decision made either in a trial court, in an administrative tribunal or in any other tribunal of first instance.  The appellate court decides the appeal based on the applicable standard of appellate review.  Depending on the legal issues invovled, the standard of review may require the appellate court to give more or less deference to the decision of the lower tribunal.

Why do I need an appellate lawyer?

Having an appellate lawyer handle your appeal provides several advantages.  First, the appellate lawyer is familiar with the specific rules and procedures that apply to appeals, which can be very different from those that apply at the trial level.  Second, an appellate lawyer can bring a fresh perspective to your case, which allows the appellate lawyer to analyze the case objectively (just as the appellate court will analyze it) and to spot different issues or potential strategies that may be less apparent to a litigator who has been entrenched in the case for a long time.  If retained early enough in the case, an appellate lawyer can be instrumental in identifying important issues and in preserving the issues for appellate review.  Finally, a good appellate lawyer understands that the appellate court is a different kind of audience than a jury or even a trial judge.  For example, the appellate courts are particularly interested in how their decisions will impact the state of the law and similar cases that may follow.

What are the key steps in the appellate process?

The process can vary depending on the type of case, but typically it involves the following steps:  (1) the appellant files a notice of appeal within the applicable time limit, (2) the appellant files a docketing statement alerting the court to the facts and legal issues involved, (3) the court issues a "calendar" assignment, which either summarily disposes of the case or requires the parties to fully brief the issues so the court can take a closer look, (4) if the court has asked for full briefing, the court may also hold an oral argument, (5) the court issues a decision, (6) any dissatisfied party may file a motion for rehearing or may seek further appellate review from a higher court, (7) once all appellate avenues have been exhausted or when certain time periods lapse, the appellate court will send the case back to the lower tribunal to conduct any proceedings necessitated by the court's decision.

What are your fees?

Atler Law Firm, P.C. offers several different types of fee structures, including hourly billing, task-based flat fees, and incentive-based fees.  The firm does not charge for clerical work.  The firm ordinarily does not charge a consultation fee but may elect to do so if significant preparation is required.  The firm does require the deposit of a refundable retainer before work can begin.  Similarly, the firm cannot begin work until the client or an authorized agent has signed an engagement letter setting forth the specific scope of work to be performed and the agreed-upon payment terms.

Do you take pro bono cases?

Yes.  The firm recognizes the dire need for civil legal services for those who cannot afford legal counsel.  However, the firm is only able to take one pro bono case at a time.  The firm is currently handling a pro bono appeal and will update this section when that appeal has been resolved.

(505) 212-3880

(505) 433-7670

201 Third St. NW, Suite 500

Albuquerque, NM 87102