Taking clients to the next level
I am a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School and a former Massachusetts state prosecutor. I have been in private practice since 1989 and have handled more than 800 criminal and civil appeals. I have also written hundreds of post-judgment motions, petitions, and other pleadings, and close to 1,000 pretrial motions. In addition to my skills as a lawyer, my expertise in the use of technology assures clients of the highest quality work that is prepared quickly and in a cost-effective manner.
As an appellate lawyer, I am often called upon to handle cases where all else has failed. Winning on appeal is never a simple matter, as lower court verdicts are presumed to be correct. To convince an appellate court to overturn a criminal conviction or civil verdict generally requires a showing either that the trial judge misapplied the law or that the law should be changed. Making such a showing requires careful and thorough review of the record in the case, comprehensive and meticulous research of the law relating to the issues raised, a clear and concise brief, and a forceful oral presentation.
Because relatively few appeals result in the requested relief for the appealing party, prior to undertaking any appeal, prospective clients should understand what can and cannot be accomplished through the appellate process. Prior to accepting your case, I will explain the costs, risks, and potential benefits of undertaking an appeal. Since the appellate courts follow a unique set of rules and procedures, I will also explain each step of the appellate process.
I frequently represent the party defending a judgment of the trial court. Representation of clients in this posture requires convincing the appellate court that the trial court decided the matter correctly or that mistakes made by the court and/or the lawyers below were not sufficiently egregious to warrant reversal of the judgment.
It is often said that the best place to win an appeal is in the trial court. I work with lawyers and law firms in both civil and criminal matters in devising litigation strategy and in preparing motions and pleadings. This approach often leads to favorable results in the trial courts, but even when the trial court rules against us, the motions, memoranda, and other pleadings can set the stage for a win on appeal.
In addition, one of the most important functions of a lawyer is to advise the client when taking the next step is or is not in his or her best interests. Among the services I provide are case evaluation and consultation to help clients decide whether and how to proceed with a case.
My typical criminal client has been convicted of a serious felony. I have handled more than 50 murder cases. I also represent clients convicted of drug offenses, sex offenses, robberies, and other so-called blue-collar crimes. In addition, I handle white-collar offenses, such as tax fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes.
Since 1984, I have briefed and/or argued more than 550 criminal appeals and more than 400 criminal post-conviction motions, petitions, and applications of various sorts, including new trial motions, applications for further appellate review, federal habeas petitions, and petitions for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
For a complete description of the appellate process in criminal cases in the Massachusetts courts, please see Criminal Appeals in the Massachusetts Courts: What You Should Know.
I handle a wide variety of civil matters, including divorce and child custody, real estate issues, business litigation, wills and trusts, employment litigation, worker's compensation, environmental litigation, and tax issues. I represent both appellants and appellees.
Again, the best place to win an appeal is often in the trial court. Sometimes, the appropriate motion or objection in the trial court will avoid the need for an appeal, perhaps the judge will rule in your favor, or perhaps opposing counsel will offer to settle the case on favorable terms. Even if you are likely to lose a motion, if it raises an issue that you plan to address on appeal, you must present that issue to the trial court in order to fully preserve it for the appellate court.
Since entering private practice, I have drafted close to 1,000 civil and criminal pretrial motions and supporting memoranda, including motions to suppress and dismiss on the criminal side and motions for summary judgment and in limine on the civil side.
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