A significant portion of John Derrick’s practice involves consulting in appeals and writs where he is not taking the lead role. This can involve a relatively short consultations where parties want some advice at the outset as to how to proceed. It can also involve an ongoing consulting role throughout the course of an appeal or writ proceeding. Or something focused on one discreet portion, such as oral argument.
John tries to be flexible in the scope of consultations, to meet the needs of parties and the lawyers handling an appeal. He generally suggests a limited-scope consultation at the outset, to try to answer initial questions, test the chemistry, and help decide where — if anywhere — to go from there.
Sometimes, John consults before a case is over in the trial court. A typical example is when he acts as a consultant during the critical post-trial phase during which a case is still under the jurisdiction of the trial court but appears to be on its way on appeal. Or where the issue involves a writ challenging a ruling before a case is appealable.
John consults in cases throughout California. Meetings often take place over Zoom. As a consultant, John Derrick does not become an attorney of record, even when his role extends throughout the duration of an appeal. His involvement is “behind the scenes.”
As when he takes the lead role in appeals, John prefers to work on flat rates when consulting, although all such rates are subject to limits as to what is a reasonable amount of time.
Initial limited-scope consultation — $1,100
Are you trying to decide whether to pursue an appeal or a writ? Or do you have procedural questions about how to go about it? Are you even certain an order is appealable? Are you wondering about how to set up your case for an appeal while it is still in the trial court? Or are you considering what to do if the other side has appealed?
To help answer these types of questions, John offers initial, limited-scope consultations to parties and/or their lawyers for a flat rate of $1,100. These typically allow up to around three hours, although there is no set amount of time. It could be a bit more than three hours, but it may be less. It typically involves several phone or video conversations over a period of a week or two between which John Derrick will review key documents and, perhaps, undertake some legal research.
There is no certainty that a consultation of this length will answer all your questions. Sometimes, much more is needed. Often, however, a few hours spent on a case can shed a great deal of light. Expert advice at the front end can save time and money and help avoid mistakes with initial steps such as record designation. And this can be the best way of starting before embarking on a more extended consulting arrangement.
Ongoing consulting — $2,500+
Beyond an initial consultation, John can consult throughout all the stages of an appeal or writ. This can involve advising on some of the more technical procedural issues and on “big-picture” appellate strategy. And it can involve reviewing draft briefs from the perspective of a seasoned appellate advocate, although John generally does not get involved in line editing — and the content of a brief is always, ultimately, the responsibility of the lawyer signing it.
Ongoing consultations can also involving brainstorming substantive issues. John can play the role of devil’s advocate, looking at a case from the other side's perspective, to help focus and sharpen counter-arguments.
Fees for ongoing consulting generally start at around $2,500 and typically do not exceed $10,000. It depends on the complexities of the case and the extent of John’s involvement.
Full record assessments — $5,000-$20,000+
John can also review entire records to provide a full, neutral assessment. This can be a more expensive undertaking, because of the time it can take — including research. And the full record may not even be available at the time when parties often want this type of assessment — at the outset when assessing options. When this type of assessment can be undertaken, it typically costs between $5,000 and $20,000 and, with very large records, it can be more.
An important exclusion
Please note that while John Derrick will consult with self-represented parties about whether to start an appeal, and/or about the possibility of his taking over an appeal, he is not available to consult with pro per parties to assist them with representing themselves. There are a number of practical and ethical reasons that make this impractical.