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In short, yes. Trial lawyers and appellate lawyers are two different areas of practice. If you have been convicted of a crime in court with your criminal defense lawyer, you may want to find a separate lawyer to handle your appeal.

Why can’t I keep my trial lawyer?

Generally, lawyers are trained expertly in their field. If you are planning to appeal, you will want an expert appellate attorney. A trial lawyer is great at standing up in court and defending you in front of a panel of jurors and a judge. An appellate lawyer is skilled in researching the best way to appeal to a judge. While both are good to have on your side, it is best to have both and not one for each.

There are some cases where an attorney may be skilled in both areas, but it is a case by case basis and you may need to discuss this further with your hired attorney. Typically, though, they are regarded as different practices.

When do I need a trial lawyer?

Not all cases make it to trial in a courtroom. If yours does, however, you will want to have a trial lawyer on your side. This lawyer will:

  • Present your case and evidence that goes with it 
  • Question witnesses 
  • Argue for you and your case

When do I need an appellate lawyer?

If a judge convicted you at your trial, you have the right to appeal. In this case, you would want to have an appellate lawyer to help you. This lawyer will:

  • Do research and writing on your behalf 
  • Have a good understanding of trial happenings 
  • Give advice on how to appeal 
  • Lend a fresh set of eyes to the case

If you are in a situation where you are going to appeal to a verdict in court, you may want to think about hiring an appellate lawyer. It may be beneficial to your case.