FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following are questions that we frequently receive in the course of our practice:
Why do you want to review the record before taking my case?
In order to make sure you have issues to litigate, and to make sure that every possible issue is found. Not every case has viable issues, and even if you believe you know what the issues are, sometimes a trained eye can find more. Since, generally, you only get one of each appeal or motion, reviewing the record allows a complete investigation to be done before going to court.
In addition, record reviews protect you financially. That way, we do not charge you a full litigation fee and then come back a month or two later and say “sorry, you do not have a case.” By charging a small fee for the record review, we make sure you do not have to pay a larger litigation fee unless there is actual litigation to be done.
What are my chances of obtaining relief?
It is very hard to say. Court decisions are unpredictable. At Edelstein & Grossman, we can and will tell you if there exists strong issues or weak ones, but beyond that, much depends on the judges who will decide your appeal or motion. A definite number or percentage of your odds is impossible to determine.
In criminal cases, you must also understand that, once a person has been convicted, they are starting in a hole. Until the jury returns its verdict, the prosecution has the burden of proof, but once on appeal or in the post-conviction stage, the defendant bears that burden. With each stage of the process, the procedural rules become stricter and the courts view the evidence more in favor of the prosecution. Appeals are a bit like baseball – .300 is a very good batting average – and it is important to recognize going in that even the best appeals are not guaranteed winners.
Why do not you have a standard price list?
Because every case is different, and because the fees we charge will depend on the size of the record, the issues to be litigated, the amount of research and writing that is exhausted, the amount of legwork and other factors. We cannot determine what the fee will be until we know something about your case.
Do you work with other attorneys?
We will gladly work with other attorneys upon their consent. We maintain very successful and long-lasting relationships with trial attorneys who have subcontracted their motion and appellate work to the firm, and are always happy to consult with other lawyers on either a one-time or ongoing basis.
Do you guarantee results?
No. Results are never guaranteed as court decisions are unpredictable. Contingent fees – i.e., fees in which you only pay if you win – are only allowed in personal injury cases. By law, we are not permitted to charge contingent fees for criminal or administrative proceedings. The client is paying for our labor and our best professional efforts, and the fees will be due whether you win or lose.
Do you work on flat rate or hourly fees?
In general, flat fees are preferred for specific jobs and hourly rates for open-ended assignments, but we are open to discussing the plan that works best for the client.
What does your fee include?
Our fees typically include all papers necessary to complete your appeal, motion or other proceeding. Also, if the proceeding is of a kind that requires permission to appeal, our fees will generally include a motion for leave to appeal. However, if leave is granted, the fee will not include the actual appeal, and any representation thereon will have to be negotiated separately.
In addition, if an evidentiary hearing is granted, an extra fee will apply, because hearings involve a great deal of preparation and in-court time.
Do you take credit cards?
Unfortunately, we do not accept credit card payments. Fees should be paid in cash or check only.
Do you give payment plans?
Yes, depending on the client’s financial circumstances and needs; however, we generally require at least a third to half of the fee up front.
Do you do pro bono work?
Sometimes, in compelling cases. However, we select the pro bono clients not vice versa.
Do you represent everyone who calls or writes you?
No. At Edelstein & Grossman, we believe in complete honesty and candor when it comes to probable results in a case. If we do not think you have a chance, we will not take your money. If we think that you have the beginnings of a case, we will sometimes help you develop it, but we will retain the final say as to proceed to court, and we will always make sure you understand the risks before agreeing to represent you.
Do you litigate civil or criminal cases in the trial court?
No. However, we have developed relationships with many excellent attorneys who do have that skill. We would be happy to refer you to someone we trust and, if the circumstances warrant, work with the attorney on the case.
Who pays for transcripts, printing, investigators or other services?
Expenses of litigation are the client’s responsibility. Sometimes, if we anticipate that printing can be done in-house, we will be willing to negotiate a fee that includes printing and shipping expenses; however, the fees of outside service providers are not included in or fees.