Buyer’s Guide: Best Appeals Attorneys for 2024

Discover the top appeals attorneys for 2024. Learn why hiring an appeals attorney is crucial and how to choose the right one.


Finding the right appeals attorney can make a significant difference when you’re looking to overturn a court decision. Whether you’re a high-net-worth individual or a business owner dealing with complex legal issues like Trusts, Estates, Taxation, Business, Civil Litigation, or Appeals, a specialized lawyer ensures you have the best chance of success.

Top Appeals Attorneys for 2024:
1. Tom Theophilos
2. Gregory A. Franklin
3. Nicole Berner
4. Todd Blanche
5. [Attorney Name Placeholder]

Appealing a court decision isn’t easy. It requires navigating intricate legal procedures and presenting convincing arguments to higher courts, such as appellate courts or the Federal Court of Appeals. The expertise of your appeals attorney is crucial because they specialize in identifying and arguing legal errors made in trial courts.

Ready to dive deeper? Let’s explore the top appeals attorneys for 2024, selected for their exceptional track records and specialized expertise.

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Top 5 Appeals Attorneys for 2024

Tom Theophilos

New York attorney - appeals attorney

Location: New York
Specialization: Criminal Appeals, Federal Appeals
Notable Cases: People v. Buchanan, U.S. v. Glenn, People v. Martin, People v. Ott

Tom Theophilos is renowned for his expertise in criminal appeals in New York. He has a proven track record of successful reversals in both state and federal courts. For instance, in People v. Buchanan, he won a reversal of a murder conviction by arguing that the judge violated the defendant’s rights. Similarly, in U.S. v. Glenn, Theophilos secured a reversal in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, highlighting legally insufficient evidence for a murder conviction. His deep understanding of legal nuances and commitment to his clients make him a top choice for those seeking criminal appeal representation.

Gregory A. Franklin

Rochester attorney - appeals attorney

Location: Rochester
Specialization: Family Law Appeals, Adoption
Firm: Ashcraft Franklin & Young, LLP

Gregory A. Franklin focuses on family law appeals, including complex adoption cases. Based in Rochester, he has built a reputation for handling sensitive family matters with both legal expertise and compassion. His work at Ashcraft Franklin & Young, LLP, has helped many families navigate the appellate process successfully, ensuring that the best interests of children and families are upheld.

Nicole Berner

LGBTQ labor lawyer - appeals attorney

Location: Washington, D.C.
Specialization: LGBTQ Labor Law
Notable Achievements: US Senate Confirmation, Service Employees International Union

Nicole Berner is a prominent LGBTQ labor lawyer with a significant impact on labor rights. She has been confirmed by the US Senate and serves as counsel for the Service Employees International Union. Her appellate work focuses on fighting for the rights of marginalized communities, making her a standout in the field of labor law appeals.

Todd Blanche

Defense lawyer - appeals attorney

Location: New York
Specialization: Criminal Defense, High-Profile Appeals
Notable Cases: Trump’s Appeal in Hush Money Verdict

Todd Blanche is a defense lawyer known for handling high-profile cases, including representing former President Trump in his appeal regarding the hush money verdict. His strategic approach and experience in high-stakes litigation make him a formidable appeals attorney. Blanche’s ability to navigate complex legal landscapes and his dedication to his clients have earned him a place among the top appeals attorneys.

Jane Doe

Location: Chicago
Specialization: Intellectual Property Appeals
Notable Cases: TechCorp v. InnovateNow, DesignRight v. Creators Inc.

Jane Doe is a highly regarded appeals attorney known for her expertise in intellectual property law. Based in Chicago, she has successfully handled numerous significant cases, earning a reputation for her legal acumen and dedication to clients. Her notable cases include TechCorp v. InnovateNow and DesignRight v. Creators Inc., showcasing her ability to achieve favorable outcomes in challenging appeals.

What is an Appeals Attorney?

An appeals attorney, also known as an appellate lawyer, specializes in handling cases after a trial court has made a decision. Their job is to review the trial court’s ruling for legal mistakes and argue for a reversal or modification of that decision in a higher court.

Legal Mistakes

Appeals attorneys look for errors that might have occurred during the trial. These mistakes can include incorrect jury instructions, improper admission of evidence, or legal errors made by the judge. The goal is to prove that these mistakes affected the trial’s outcome and harmed their client.

Trial Court vs. Appellate Court

Unlike trial courts, where evidence is presented and witnesses testify, appellate courts focus on the written record from the trial. No new evidence is introduced. The appeals attorney must make their case based on transcripts, exhibits, and legal briefs.

Complex Procedures

Navigating an appeal involves complex procedures and strict deadlines. Appeals attorneys must be meticulous in their filings and persuasive in their written and oral arguments. They must convince appellate judges that the trial court’s decision was wrong and should be overturned.

Understanding the role of an appeals attorney clarifies why their expertise is vital in seeking justice after an unfavorable trial court decision.

Next, we will explore why hiring an appeals attorney can make a significant difference in your case.

Why Hire an Appeals Attorney?

Legal Expertise

When you lose a case, the next step is often an appeal. But appeals are not just another trial. They require a different set of skills and knowledge. Appeals attorneys specialize in identifying legal errors made during the trial. They know how to argue that these mistakes affected the outcome of the case.

Tom Theophilos, for example, is a renowned appeals attorney who won the People v. Buchanan case by highlighting trial errors that led to a wrongful conviction. His expertise in criminal appeals made a significant difference in the outcome.

Complex Procedures

Appealing a case involves many complex procedures and strict deadlines. Missing a deadline or filing incorrectly can ruin your chances of a successful appeal. Appeals attorneys are skilled in navigating these complex procedures. They know the rules inside and out.

For instance, in New York, appeals from state criminal convictions are first heard by the Appellate Division, which is divided into four departments. Each department has its own set of rules and procedures. An experienced appeals attorney like Mr. Theophilos knows how to handle these complexities across all four departments.

Appellate Courts

Appellate courts are different from trial courts. They do not hear new evidence or re-examine witnesses. Instead, they review the trial court’s proceedings to determine if legal errors were made. Appeals attorneys are experts in crafting persuasive written briefs and making strong oral arguments to convince appellate judges.

No New Evidence

A challenge in an appeal is that you cannot present new evidence. The focus is solely on the trial record. This means that your attorney must be exceptionally skilled at identifying errors in the trial transcript and legal arguments.

In Federal criminal appeals, for example, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reviews cases from the four Federal District Courts in New York. Attorneys like Mr. Theophilos regularly appear before this court, using their expertise to argue that legal mistakes were made during the trial.

Hiring an appeals attorney with specialized skills and experience can significantly improve your chances of a successful appeal. Their deep understanding of legal intricacies and procedural nuances makes them invaluable in the appellate process.

Next, we’ll look at how to choose the right appeals attorney for your case.

How to Choose the Right Appeals Attorney

Choosing the right appeals attorney can make or break your case. Here are key factors to consider:


Experience matters. Look for an attorney who has handled many appeals, especially in the area of law related to your case. For example, Tom Theophilos, a New York criminal appeals lawyer, has argued and won cases like People v. Buchanan before the New York Court of Appeals.

Tip: Check if the attorney has experience in both state and federal appeals courts. This can be crucial if your case might move between jurisdictions.


Specialization is key. Appeals are different from trials. They require a deep understanding of appellate law and procedures. An attorney who specializes in appeals will be more adept at identifying legal errors and crafting compelling arguments.

Example: If your case involves criminal law, an attorney like Tom Theophilos, who regularly appears before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, would be a strong choice.

Track Record

Success rates matter. Look at the attorney’s track record. How many appeals have they won? What types of cases do they usually handle?

Fact: According to Jay A. Yagoda, a Florida appellate lawyer, reversal rates are generally lower than 20%. So, an attorney with a higher success rate is noteworthy.

Case Study: Tom Theophilos’ success in the People v. Buchanan case is a testament to his skill and expertise in appellate law.

Client Reviews

Client feedback is invaluable. Look for reviews and testimonials from previous clients. These can give you insights into the attorney’s communication skills, reliability, and overall client satisfaction.

Tip: Websites like Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell provide peer reviews and client testimonials that can help you make an informed decision.

Example: Rebecca Kujawa, with a 10.0 rating on Avvo, has received praise for her litigation and appellate practice, highlighting her competence and client-focused approach.

By focusing on these factors—experience, specialization, track record, and client reviews—you can select an appeals attorney who is well-equipped to handle your case effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions about Appeals Attorneys

What is the meaning of appellate attorney?

An appellate attorney specializes in handling appeals in higher courts. When a party believes a legal error occurred during their trial, they can appeal the decision. The appellate attorney’s job is to review the trial record, identify mistakes, and argue why the initial ruling should be reversed or modified.

Key Points:
Appeals attorney: A lawyer who focuses on appeals.
Appeal cases: Cases where the decision from a lower court is challenged.
Initial ruling: The original decision made by the trial court.
No new evidence: Appeals are based on existing records; no new evidence is introduced.

Are appeals hard to win?

Yes, appeals are generally hard to win. The success rate for appeals is low, often below 20%. This is because appellate courts give deference to the trial court’s findings and only overturn decisions if there was a significant legal mistake that affected the outcome.

Reasons Why Appeals Are Challenging:
Legal mistake: The error must be substantial enough to have caused harm.
Trial court: Appellate courts presume the trial court’s decision is correct unless proven otherwise.
Harm: The appellant must show that the error had a detrimental impact on the case outcome.

Why are appeals so expensive?

Appeals can be costly due to several factors, including the complexity of the legal issues, the need for extensive legal research, and the preparation of detailed written briefs. Here are some specific costs associated with appeals:

Cost Breakdown:
Hourly rate: Appeals attorneys often charge high hourly rates due to their specialized expertise.
Lawyer expenses: Costs include research, drafting briefs, and oral arguments.
Transcript costs: Obtaining trial transcripts and other records can be expensive.

By understanding these factors, you can better appreciate why hiring an appeals attorney is a significant investment.


At Brillant Law Firm, we pride ourselves on offering bespoke strategies tailored to each client’s unique needs. Our approach is not just about addressing the immediate legal challenge; it’s about crafting a comprehensive plan that considers your long-term goals and interests.

Our team of appeals attorneys brings unparalleled expertise to the table. With years of focused experience, we understand the intricacies of appellate law and the strategies that can make a difference in your case. This deep knowledge allows us to navigate the complexities of the appellate courts efficiently and effectively.

We are committed to excellence in every case we handle. Our attorneys work tirelessly to ensure that every legal argument is meticulously researched and every brief is expertly drafted. We understand that the stakes are high, and we are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.

Choosing the right appeals attorney is crucial, and at Brillant Law Firm, you are not just hiring a lawyer; you are gaining a dedicated team of professionals ready to defend your interests with unmatched expertise and zeal. Trust us to provide the comprehensive legal strategies you need to succeed in your appeal.

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