John L. Dodd & Associates handles appeals and writ petitions throughout the State of California, primarily in State court. We are experienced in civil, family, trust and estate, juvenile, parental rights, criminal and adoption appeals. Our primary office is in Orange County, so we concentrate on appeals originating from Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties. However, we have filed appellate briefs in every District of the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. We also have filed appellate briefs in the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
We do not appear in the trial court, but will consult with trial counsel and assist with research and drafting of, or opposing, complex motions. Generally, we prefer to "associate" with trial counsel for the appeal, but will "substitute" in as counsel for appeal in the Court of Appeal in the appropriate case. We also are available to represent amicus curiae, or "friends of the court," in cases which may be important to individuals or groups in which they are not formal parties.
Where the issues and "stakes" justify it, we also handle appeals to the appellate department of the Superior Court, on behalf of both appellants and respondents, concerning "Limited Jurisdiction" Superior Court, formerly known as "Municipal Court."
We do not handle small claims appeals. Those are not true appeals, but instead are a new trial before a different judge. If you have a small claims appeal, we advise you to seek out an attorney handling general civil litigation matters.
The John L. Dodd & Associates Advantage
We are a small, collegial firm and keep overhead low so as to keep our hourly rates competitive. Although "big firms" often have attorneys who have appellate experience, someone is paying for those impressive facilities, generally the client.
Additionally, some law firms may assign appeals to new lawyers or summer law clerks, in the apparent belief that taking depositions or handling trial work is "real" lawyer work, but "paperwork" is beneath the more senior attorneys. Appeals are all we do. We do not view them as second-class assignments.
We are efficient and are able to get to the heart of an appellate case and complete projects without the undue consumption of time. Although some appeal attorneys may charge lower hourly rates, they may not be proficient in appellate procedure or may take longer to draft an appellate brief, which ends up costing the client more money.
Mr. Dodd is a former research attorney at the California Court of Appeal. This gave him valuable insight into the mechanics of an appeal and the manner in which appellate justices decide cases. He has been certified by the State Bar of California as an Specialist in Appellate Law since 1996, and has handled over 1,000 appellate matters in his over 30 years of practice. Mr. Dodd has argued hundreds of cases before the California Court of Appeal, as well as 10 matters before the California Supreme Court.
In addition to his appellate experience, Mr. Dodd spent many years handling civil litigation and real property matters. He gained valuable courtroom experience, plus an understanding of the various steps in a lawsuit which some other appellate attorneys lack. However, for more than 15 years, our practice has been devoted exclusive to appellate matters and assisting other attorneys with complex legal research.
This breadth and depth of experience sets this firm apart from others who dabble in appeals or "have handled some appeals" in the past. Our attorneys have considerable appellate experience and have demonstrated excellent research and writing skills.