Filing An Appeal In Another State: 3 Things An Attorney Must Do

When an individual wants to appeal the court's decision regarding their trial case, these appeals are heard by specialized courts known as appellate courts. It is not uncommon for an appeal to be heard in a state that differs from the state where the original case was presented. This can present some unique challenges for attorneys hoping to help their clients file an appeal.

Here are three things an attorney must do in order to be able to legally represent a client in an appeal being heard out-of-state.

1. Partner with local counsel.

In order to facilitate the filing and service processes, it is critical that an attorney partners with a firm in the state where an appealed trial case will be heard. A law firm that is in the same geographic vicinity as the appellate court can serve in an advisory role to help the original attorney navigate the unique filing laws that apply to their state.

Many firms specialize in the appellate process, making it easy for an attorney who is not recognized by the bar in the state where a trial case is being appealed to find a knowledgeable and reliable local law firm to partner with for the duration of the appeal.

2. Obtain proof of good standing.

Attorneys are held to a certain code of ethics that is enforced by the bar association in each state where a lawyer's practice is located. In order to appear on an appeal that is filed out-of-state, an attorney must be able to provide the court with proof that he or she is in good standing with the bar association to which he or she belongs.

Most bar associations understand how the appellate process works, and they are willing to draft letters certifying a lawyer's good standing when needed.

3. File an application to appear pro hac vice.

The final step that an attorney must take before representing a client in an out-of-state appeal is the filing of an application to appear pro hac vice with the appellate court.

These applications are designed to grant an attorney who is not admitted to the bar with special permission to try a single case. Separate applications must be filed for each individual appellate case an attorney wants to handle in an out-of-state courtroom.

The appeals process can help individuals seek the justice they feel is due them when a trial court's decision isn't favorable. Handling an out-of-state appeal can be tricky, so working with an attorney employed by an experienced appellate practice is critical the ensuring the success of your future legal appeals. For more information, visit websites like