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New York Appellate Lawyers Blog

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How much do appeals cost in New York State Courts?

New York Appellate practice comes at a cost to the lawyer and the client. 

The cost is often greater for the appellant than it is for the appellee/respondent.  The reason for this is the “record on appeal” in an appeal to the appellate division.  Keep an eye out for a greater discussion on what constitutes a record on appeal; however, for the purposes of this post, we discuss it only briefly.  Also, to be discussed in another post is the difference between electronic record transmission rules in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and the Appellate Divisions in state courts.

A record on appeal must be assembled by the appellant and must follow specific rules for completion.  An appellant may reproduce the record using, 1) the full record; 2) an appendix; or 3) a joint statement.  The 3rd method is the cheapest of the three, but almost never used.  It seems patently unfair to ask litigants to agree on a statement of the facts when they’ve already litigated their respective positions for a protracted period of time.  The 2nd method is used sparingly, but can be cost effective if an appellate lawyer is secure enough to trust his/her decision not to leave out something important.  The appendix method enables the appellant’s lawyer to shrink the size and the cost of the record.  Using the appendix method can also shift the cost of reproducing an appellate record to the appellee.  The last and most commonly used method in reproducing a record is the full record method.  All transcripts, pleadings, decisions on the record etc. are wholly reproduced. 

This is where appeals tend to be expensive.  Reproducing the record includes making sure all proceedings are transcribed by a court reporter, and then forwarding it in its entirety to a printer.  A 500 page record, for instance, can cost up to $4000 dollars to reproduce.  Attorneys’ fees in an appeal can be structured either on an hourly basis, or a flat fee basis.  Our New York appellate lawyers prefer a flat fee arrangement rather than an hourly arrangement.  We’ve learned that most of our clients also prefer this.  The flat fee arrangement allows our lawyers to dedicate themselves to the matter without worry for “running the clock.”  Clients prefer this because their cost is capped at a specific amount and they have certainty with the respect to their cost on appeal.

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