Most people, and many attorneys, don’t know that there is a growing “speciality” of appeals lawyers that only do appeals. Particularly they only do appeals to the US Supreme Court or State Supreme Courts. Sometimes, if the case is prestigious enough, they will even take the case pro bono (free). But should the client take advantage of that? Should I, the lawyer, suggest to the client that they should get a different attorney to handle the appeal?
Rule 1: the client comes first. So I have to put my own ego aside and consider what is best for the client. Ultimately, it is the client’s decision and I have to cooperate with it. And I have the obligation to properly inform the client of the pros and cons.
Rule 2: If it were a purely legal issue, maybe I would refer it to a specialist who would let me work with them. But maybe not too. If it turned heavily on the facts, I would probably not refer it out. I believe that only I know the facts and where they appear in the record. Note please: I have never been all that impressed with biglaw specialists. Everyone is a beginner in the beginning and Alan Gura, who argued Heller and the Chicago Second Amendment case is a small firm layer who appeared before the U.S. Supreme court for the first time in that case and won it. (full disclosure—I used to know him and we litigated a couple of cases together many years ago). So were several others.
Rule 3: If I did keep the case I would certainly hire a specialist to consult with me and advise me on proper procedures (they can be very esoteric) and in preparation. Remember what I said about ego—I can’t afford one if I am going to win. So I will certainly get all the help the client can afford and then probably try to talk my friends into helping for free (or pizza and beer). Anything to do it better for the client.