Every appeal involves both costs and attorney’s fees. This page will help you to understand the overall cost of an appeal. I also explain the flat fee.
Costs include the filing fee for an appeal, the price of the Clerk’s Record, and the price of the Reporter’s Record.
As of September 2015, the filing fee for an appeal to a court of appeals is $205 and the filing fee for an extraordinary writ (such as a petition for writ of mandamus) is $155. The filing fee for a petition for review in the Texas Supreme Court is $145 plus an additional $75 if the petition is granted. The filing fee for an extraordinary writ is $145.
The Clerk’s Record consists of the documents filed with the Clerk’s Office that are necessary to the appeal. These documents include, for example, the petition, the answer and the judgment or decree. The Clerk’s Office prepares the Clerk’s Record and sends it to the Court of Appeals. The Clerk’s Record typically costs $100 to $200.
The Reporter’s Record is a transcription of the proceedings as taken by the court reporter plus copies of all items offered into evidence or admitted into evidence. Reporter’s Records can be expensive. A day of trial might well cost around $2,000 to transcribe. Reporter’s Records are necessary for most, but not all, appeals. A partial Reporter’s Record often is sufficient for a petition for writ of mandamus.
If you are merely defending the appeal, you will not be required to pay any of these costs unless the record is deficient in some respect, in which case you might need to order additional parts of the Clerk’s Record or have other testimony transcribed by the court reporter.
By fees, I mean attorney’s fees. Most attorneys charge by the hour. Attorney’s fees range from $150 for the newest practitioner to well above $500 per hour for more experienced practitioners.
Because I have appealed or responded to appeals in many cases, I can accurately estimate how much time an appeal will involve. For that reason, I offer my clients the choice of a flat fee or my hourly rate. The amount of the flat fee depends heavily on how long the court proceedings took because the longer the hearing or trial, the more I must read. I also require a small retainer for incidental expenses such as mailing, copying and any paralegal services that might be required in a case.
If your case is in the Texas Supreme Court, or in the Austin, Dallas, Eastland, Fort Worth, Texarkana, Tyler or Waco courts of appeals, I will not charge you travel costs to get to the court and back. If your case is in the Amarillo, Beaumont, Corpus Christi/Edinburg, El Paso, Houston or San Antonio courts of appeals, I will charge you travel costs. Travel costs typically equal the price of a ticket on Southwest Airlines and cab fare at the destination.
If your case is outside the DFW area, and it is scheduled to be heard in the morning, you could be required to pay the cost to put me up at the local Holiday Inn Express the night before.
The amount I charge for a flat fee depends on the complexity of the case and how many days of hearings there were. For a divorce case that took no longer than a day in trial, my flat fee is a minimum of $7,500. For a petition for writ of mandamus, my flat fee is a minimum of $5,000. These fees cover appeals to the Texas courts of appeals, but not to the Texas Supreme Court, where the fee structure is different. Should you choose to hire me on an hourly basis, my hourly rate for appeals is $400.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about costs, fees or flat fees.