Although an appeal comes after the trial is over, you should be thinking about hiring an appellate attorney long before the trial phase of a case. In fact, an appellate attorney can be a valuable resource throughout the pendency of your case in the trial court. How, you ask?
First, you cannot appeal an error that has not been properly preserved. Appellate counsel can assist (both before and during trial) with preserving any potential errors for appeal and with protecting the record that ultimately goes up on appeal.
Second, appellate counsel can assist with drafting and briefing significant pretrial motions, including dispositive motions and motions in limine.
Third, they can draft jury instructions and handle the jury instruction conference, freeing up your time to work on the trial and your closing argument.
Finally, appellate counsel can assist in drafting or opposing post-trial motions and addressing any appellate jurisdiction concerns that may arise in connection with the appeal.
While appellate counsel can perform all of these functions at any time, they will be better equipped and more effective if they are involved in the case sooner rather than later.