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Appellate Law

If an unfavorable court judgment has been made against you, it can negatively affect your life in many ways. But you do have options.

Board-certified in appellate law, Debra J. Sutton can help you seek a judgment reversal, a new trial, or an increased award of damages.

The Sutton Law Firm in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow, FL, is the clear choice to fight for you when making an appeal.

Choose the Sutton Law Firm For Your Appellate Law Needs

If you feel an unfair decision was made against you during a trial, we can help. Our esteemed lawyers have over 60 combined years of gold-standard expertise when it comes to assisting clients like you with appellate law and other legal needs in the Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, areas.

Debra J. Sutton is a member of a small, elite group of Florida attorneys that have achieved Appellate Specialist Board Certification. Our boutique law firm, located in Bartow's historic Mann Mansion, features individualized services and a highly skilled legal team ready to give you laser-focused attention. 

Mann Mansion
Our office is located in the Historic Mann Mansion.

Our Attorney Is a Board-Certified Appellate Specialist

The Florida Bar Board Certified Appellate Practice

5-Star Reviews From Lakeland and Beyond "The epitome of what you hope lawyers are going to be..." 




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Debra Sutton and Sutton Law Firm are the epitome of what you hope lawyers are going to be...  they worked tirelessly to resolve my legal issues with grace, integrity and confidence. I owe Debra Sutton and Sutton Law Firm so much - they gave me my life back.  I cannot recommend them any higher!  If you need her services, you will never have a better advocate in your corner.

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Jimmy Chesnut


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If you are looking for the most knowledgeable Attorney in Central Florida. Look no further. Debra and her staff are the best around.

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What is the appellate law process?

Debra J. Sutton, our board-certified attorney, discusses a brief overview of the appellate law process.

Why Retain an Appellate Attorney

There are many different kinds of lawyers. Appellate lawyers are litigation experts who study evidence and testimony in order to present complex legal arguments to appellate court judges. These arguments challenge unfavorable trial court judgments that were based on procedural errors or incorrect applications of the law.

Retaining our trusted board-certified appellate lawyer at the Sutton Law Firm in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL, may result in:

  • A New Trial
  • Reversals of Trial Court Verdicts
  • Increased Damage Awards
  • Decrease of a Sentence
  • Moving the Appeal to Another Geographic Location
  • Emergency Appeal Hearings
  • Appeals Before the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts

Contact Sutton Law Firm

Debra J. Sutton has handled appellate cases for over two decades and continues to serve the Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow communities in Central Florida. Our awarded lawyers can fight against an unfair court decision on your behalf, even at the level of the Florida Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court. The Sutton Law Firm uses a team-based approach so you have the benefit of several lawyers working on your unique case.

Contact our team with your questions or to request a consultation with Ms. Sutton. You can also call our Lakeland office at:

(863) 533-8912


"Debra is the best."


gary pallavicini


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Debra is the best- Each and every time I've needed her services she has been kind, professional and always gets results. Her and her staff have been very nice and super responsive. I highly recommend her and her firm.

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Kevin Bracken


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I’ve known Debra Sutton for most of my life and can honestly say she has always went above and beyond no matter the task. She is super competitive and has an always win attitude. Debra is compassionate and cares deeply about people in general. You can rest assured that choosing her law firm is a solid choice that will provide you with the best possible outcome.

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Do Lots of People File Appeals?

Nearly 50,000 appeals were filed with the U.S. Courts of Appeals in 2018 alone.
According to

Walk Me Through the Appellate Process

Sutton Law Firm is equipped to handle the most complicated of appellate cases, dealing with complex statutes, mountains of evidence, and obscure regulations. 
Sutton Law Firm is equipped to handle the most complicated of appellate cases, dealing with complex statutes, mountains of evidence, and obscure regulations. 

Appeal Is Filed

Sutton Law Firm files a Notice of Appeal on your behalf with the Circuit court within 30 days post-judgment.

Notice Is Forwarded

The Notice is forwarded to one of Florida's five District Court of Appeals.

Court Records Requested

Court records and transcripts from the original trial are ordered for the appellate court's use.

Initial Brief Filed

An Initial Brief is filed by your counsel outlining the grounds for appeal.

Opposing Answer Brief Filed

An Answer Brief by the opposing party is filed, followed by the appellant's responsive Reply Brief.

Oral Argument Requested 

A request for oral argument may be made, and if granted, the appellate lawyers argue the case before a three-judge panel.

Don't Fight Your Appeal Alone Call us to schedule a consultation today

Receiving an unfavorable judgment in court can be overwhelming. However, the appellate process means it is not the end of the road.

Sutton Law Firm can help you navigate appellate litigation. Attorneys Debra J. Sutton and Matthew J. Kovschak have each been in practice for over 30 years. Our law firm has offices in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartov, FL, for your convenience.

Don't fight your appeal alone. Request an appointment with our appellate lawyer using our online form or call us today at:

(863) 533-8912

Our Attorneys Handle
Many Kinds of Legal Appeals

To increase your chances of obtaining a favorable appeal decision, trust the team at Sutton Law, serving the communities of Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, FL.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

A Writ of Habeas Corpus questions the legality of custody of a prisoner or may be used to obtain emergency custody of a child. Count on the appellate and litigation experts at Sutton Law to act quickly and thoroughly to protect your rights from day one.

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Federal Appeals

These cases are heard in United States District Courts and may involve a U.S. governmental entity, a federal statute, or a dispute of more than $50,000 between parties in different states. Federal appeals are heard in one of 13 U.S. Courts of Appeal. The 11th Circuit court in Atlanta hears appeals for Florida cases. Our appellate attorneys can practice and present oral arguments in all 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals.

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Jurisdictional and Venue Disputes

When an appeal is filed, the opposing party has the right to dispute the court chosen to hear an appellant's case. Jurisdictional questions arise when the parties reside in different states or an injury has occurred in another state. "Venue" describes the geographical area the court is located within that state. Sutton Law has years of successful experience handling jurisdictional and venue disputes.

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Emergency Mandamus Proceedings

It may be is crucial to immediately address errors in procedural and legal issues that occur during a trial in order to protect a client's rights that may be lost if resolution awaits a post-judgment appeal. A carefully crafted Writ of Mandamus persuades an appellate court to hear these issues on an emergency basis.

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Complex, Accelerated, and Records-Intensive Appeals

Sutton Law is equipped to handle the most complicated of appellate cases, dealing with complex statutes, mountains of evidence, and obscure regulations. Extensive legal research and sophisticated, persuasive writing are critical to your chances of winning your case, so it is important to retain appellate lawyers with extensive experience handling appeals. Whether your case involves an emergency writ or handling extensive records and exhibits, our firm offers the background and knowledge needed to proceed and prevail.

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Supreme Court (State and U.S.)

A party that loses an appeal to the District Court of Appeal can request that the Florida Supreme Court reviews the case, but it is up to the Supreme Court whether to hear the case. The U.S. Supreme Court hears cases lost on appeal in the state appellate courts and federal U.S. Courts of Appeal, though they agree to review less than five percent of submitted cases annually. The appellate lawyers at Sutton Law are admitted to practice before the U.S. and Florida Supreme Courts. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I represent myself during an appeal?

You can, but it is best to have a knowledgeable attorney and legal team on your side to help you navigate the complex appellate process. Having an attorney that knows the process can mean the difference between your unfavorable judgment remaining or getting it overturned.

How much will an appellate lawyer cost?

Again, this will depend on your case. We understand that cost is a major factor, and having the right attorney on your side can be a valuable investment in your future. We are happy to discuss the costs of your appeal with you during your initial consultation.

How long does the appeals process take?

This will vary by case and by the type of case. However, in general, it is best to prepare yourself for a long process of up to 18 months. This can be shorter or longer depending on your case, and we can discuss an estimated timeline for your specific case during your consultation.

What happens if the court judgment is reversed?

There are a few things that can happen if your appeal is successful and the judgment is reversed. The appellate court will typically "remand" the case and send it back to a lower court, and order the trial court to take further action. This may include holding a new trial or that the trial court's judgment be modified or corrected.

Are You Facing Other Legal Issues?

Call on us for legal representation in various practice areas involving divorce, victim's rights, family law, and other litigations or legal issues. The Sutton Law Firm team is standing by to assist you in your fight for justice and a fair outcome.

More 5-Star Reviews "Glad She Was My Lawyer" 


Marla McAulay


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Debra Sutton and her team are professional, compassionate and quick to respond. She handled my case and the issue was quickly resolved.

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Vicki Watson


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Her professionalism and knowledge of the law in the courtroom made me glad she was my lawyer. Hopefully I never need a lawyer again, but if I do, I will hire Ms. Sutton.

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Debra J. Sutton

Sutton Law Firm

Debra J. Sutton is an attorney who is board-certified in both appellate practice and marital and family law by the Florida Bar. At the Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Kovschak, and their team provide individualized, compassionate, and private legal services. Our popular practice areas include:

You can request a consultation with our board-certified attorney right now by filling out our online form or calling (863) 533-8912.

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