Welcome to Appeals and Briefs by Michael Skotnicki, Esq., a Freelance Legal Writing Service
Appeals and Briefs by Michael Skotnicki, Esq. is a freelance legal writing service for practicing attorneys who need assistance preparing appellate briefs, complex trial court motions and supporting briefs, or other pleadings.
Perhaps your trial court practice is too busy to allow you to take the large block of time needed to draft an appellate brief, or maybe you feel you need help from an attorney who is more experienced in appellate matters. Whatever the reason, with nearly twenty years of experience either working as an appellate court staff attorney or having a practice principally focused on drafting briefs for appeals and complex trial court motions, Michael Skotnicki is able to help.
He provides services that range from giving advice on appellate strategy, helping you prep for oral argument, reviewing and editing the brief you've drafted, or taking on the entire project of drafting the brief for your signature. Whatever assistance you need, Michael Skotnicki is able to handle your project with great skill at a reasonable cost. As noted further below, under ABA ethics opinions, the cost of a freelance attorney can be passed on to your client, along with a reasonable surcharge. This allows you to profit from outsourcing your briefing project.
What Makes Us Different?
It's that simple. Michael Skotnicki has tremendous experience as an appellate attorney, having worked as a law clerk and then staff attorney to several Justices of the Alabama Supreme Court from 1993 to 1998. He assisted those Justices with deciding appeals, mandamus petitions and other appellate matters, and drafted about 80 of the Court's published opinions. It was through that work that he learned the small things that often make the difference between a winning brief and a losing one. Recognized as a top appellate advocate, Michael has taught continuing legal education seminars on appellate briefing for NBI, Inc., the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University, and the Birminngham Bar Association.
While he has litigated many trial court matters from beginning to end, Michael's practice always specialized in appellate work that had him file petitions and briefs in the Alabama appellate courts, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, and the United States Supreme Court. Now, with the creation of appealsandbriefs.com, his litigation and appellate expertise is available to fellow attorneys for the first time. Michael Skotnicki has the ability to write a compelling brief in any type of civil matter or appeal.
American Bar Association Opinions Support Outsourcing Work to Freelance Attorneys
In the last decade, technology and globalization have changed our lives and the way business is done. The practice of law has not been immune from these changes, as "outsourcing" by large law firms of document review and other legal work to countries such India is no longer unusual.
The concept of outsourcing has spread to legal research and brief writing, except law firms are now sending legal work to freelance attorneys in the United States who work in "virtual offices" unburdened by the high overhead costs of running an active legal practice.
The American Bar Association has released two formal Opinions that support a law firm's outsourcing of work to a freelance attorney. ABA Opinions 00-420 and 08-451 provide that attorneys may ethically outsource work to a freelance attorney and that when billing the client a surchage may be added to the freelance's attorney's fee when the total sum is considered a fee for legal services and the entire amount is reasonable. Thus, the benefits of using a freelance service such as Appeals and Briefs by Michael Skotnicki, Esq. includes the following:
- the client receives a quality brief prepared by a skilled litigator and experienced appellate attorney;
- the attorney in the firm is able to devote his or her time to other fee-generating matters; and
- the firm is generally able to add a surcharge to the reasonable fee charged and thus profit from the work of the freelance attorney (see ABA Opinion 00-420).
This Opinion explains when a law firm may add a surcharge to the freelance attorney's fee when billing the client.
ABA Formal Opinion 00-420.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [52.3 KB]
This Opinion provides that use of an expert freelance attorney can be of great benefit the client, but the client should be made aware of the use of the freelance attorney for the legal work.
ABA Opinion 08-451.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [62.5 KB]