In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that 69,348 state criminal appeals were resolved nationwide. On average, accounting for 143 appellate courts, that’s approximately 484 criminal appeals per court—a little over one appeal per day. See Report of U.S. Dept. of Justice (Sept. 2015) here:

Appellate litigation makes up a substantial portion of our justice system, and it serves the important function of ensuring that errors and miscarriages of justice are corrected.

Pennsylvania has bragging rights of having one of the busier appellate-court systems in the nation. A lot of that may be due to the fact that, in Pennsylvania, there is  a constitutional right to appeal.  See Pa. Const. art. V, § 9.  Whatever the case, however, appellate advocacy is much different than trial advocacy in that both involve different skill sets.  One requires more attention to legal research and writing (appellate), and the other requires more attention to investigation, presentation, and persuasive argument (trial).

Having an experienced appellate attorney on your side is important for when things did not work out at trial. The following resembles just a partial list of important timelines and details that are essential to perfecting and advancing a successful appeal:

1.Time for Appeal—generally 30 days (Pa.R.A.P. 903(a))

2. Preserving Issues—generally by way of objection at trial (Pa.R.A.P. 302(a))

3. Defining Issues—generally by way of the Concise Statement of Errors (Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b))

4. Filing the Brief—generally 40 days given for drafting and filing for party taking appeal; contents of brief laid out in Pa.R.A.P. 2111(a).



At James Law, our attorneys are skilled in both areas of trial and appellate practice.  Attorney James has handled numerous appeals before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and he has familiarity with the inner-workings of appellate courts, having  previously worked for the Michigan Supreme Court.