Nobody wants to go to trial and lose, but if you do, you can appeal your case and so can the other side if you win.
Sometimes people come to us asking us to handle the appeal part of their case after it’s been tried by another law firm. We’ve never agreed to do this.
It makes the most sense for the attorney who handled your case through trial to be the one to handle your appeal, if you’re going down that road. We’ve written before about switching attorneys if you feel you need to. Generally, if you realize you hired a bad attorney, we encourage you to find someone competent and make the switch. But this specific situation is somewhat of an exception. If your case has already gone to trial then it’s pretty much too late to hire someone else. Here’s why,
Any new attorney will be stuck with the case as it was prepared by the first attorney. On appeal, you don’t get to re-do anything, such as calling on witnesses, presenting new evidence, etc. So very few attorneys, if any, want to pick that up on appeal, knowing they don’t have much control over it. On top of that is the fact that the majority of appeals are denied in Illinois workers’ compensation cases.
If your attorney is willing to handle an appeal, then go with it. If they are reluctant, and you feel that you want to appeal, insist that they follow through. Even if they’re inexperienced or not on top of things, they’re likely your only chance. You might be able to hire someone and pay them by the hour to work on your appeal, but no workers’ compensation attorney I know would take on an appeal of a case they weren’t involved in. We certainly wouldn’t. We would rather focus on helping our clients who came to us in the beginning or at least before trial.
Some firms allow inexperienced attorneys to handle cases. Many are high-volume, which can affect the care taken on an individual case. If this hasn’t happened to you, you can avoid it by putting some work into the hiring process. Don’t go with an attorney because they ran an ad on TV. Look into their experience, track record, reputation and client satisfaction.