Court finds appeal's “actual printing” cost reasonable. But, what is actually involved in the appellate production besides printing and binding?

Earlier this year, a California court issued an opinion finding the costs charged by Counsel Press for printing an appeal reasonable (click here for the court’s opinion document; see pp. 23-25). The ruling reversed a trial court’s decision which had granted the respondent’s request to significantly reduce the invoice of Counsel Press, based on the argument that “…the cost to copy pages at a standard copy center is 11 cents per page….” It is not uncommon for a party to an appeal to question their appellate attorney’s decision to use an appellate services provider, which specializes in appellate printing, instead of a retail printing center or to question why their attorney chose a “high-end” provider over a cheaper one. Although the courts’ recent favorable rulings are certainly helpful, to address these questions, we thought it would be prudent to take a brief look at the appeal process and its complexity as well as the role that the appellate services provider plays in this process.

Appellate Process: What is in the Mix
There are thousands of courts across the United States and each one of them has their own set of rules and internal operating procedures. Although the appellate process is generally the same, it is important to be aware of the specific rules and procedures of the court you are appealing to. Each court has its own filing schedules, deadlines and requirements. One procedural misstep can cause your appeal to be dismissed. The process to compile the necessary supporting documentation (records, addendums and/or appendices) can be laborious and time-consuming involving document collection, review and preparation, including indexing and pagination. Another component in the “appeal equation” is the growing trend of electronic filings and submissions with their additional requirements and procedures.

Appellate Services Providers: What They Bring to the Table
Using an office/retail printing center (e.g., Kinko’s, Staples) for your appellate document production is certainly an option – these printers can offer grades of paper in conformity to appellate court rules as well as indexing and binding for a professional presentation. However, there is so much more involved in your appeal than just printing and binding your record on appeal and brief. Given the great complexity of the appellate process and the time that goes into preparing the required documents and forms, having an experienced appellate services provider assisting you can certainly be very advantageous. Aside from having a quick turnaround on document review and preparation as well as fast and accurate document production, an expert services provider will ensure the rule-compliant service and filing of all appellate matters. Working with one of the larger providers, which are better equipped and staffed, generally comes with the convenience of working on your documents up to minutes from filing and serving. A number of companies, the vast majority of which are located in the New York City area, offer a similar spectrum of services for preparing, filing and serving appeals, yet many appellate attorneys are very selective when choosing an appellate services provider. More often than not, the lowest price quote is not the best alternative.

Counsel Press: How We Are Different
Counsel Press is the largest appellate services provider in the U.S. – operations including fully-staffed offices in 12 locations nationwide and production centers in 6 locations from coast-to-coast, and this is certainly very impressive. However, the number one reason why our clients select us is our expertise – Counsel Press has the most experienced and expert staff of attorneys, appellate consultants and appellate paralegals available. Whether you need expert assistance with your client’s next chance or last chance, we offer unmatched expertise from the state and federal courts to the United States Supreme Court. We also offer cutting-edge eBrief technology and on-demand legal research and writing for attorneys.

Read a related article: "9th Circuit Rules favorably on recovering Counsel Press fees as taxable costs."

Tagged: Appellate Practice, Production & Support, Appellate Services, California Court of Appeal