4. What are my chances of winning on appeal?
Most appeals are not successful. For example, the California courts of appeal will reverse the judgment in civil appeals only about 20 percentof the time. An appellant in a civil case therefore has a one-in-five chance of winning, in general.
Appeals are not a second bite at the apple. This is not your opportunity to re-litigate the case. The issues on appeal are normally limited to the issues that were raised in the trial court; you cannot point to any new evidence; and the appellate courts will analyze the legal issues from a different standpoint, often giving deference to the trial judge’s rulings or the jury’s findings. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have an attorney review the record and evaluate the issues on appeal, as early as possible, to determine your chances of prevailing on appeal.
Appeals can also take a long time to resolve. The latest statistics from the Judicial Council 2007 Court Statistics Report show that the median time for a civil appeal in the California appellate courts takes 431 days, from the filing of the notice of appeal to the filing of an opinion.