Appellate lawyers share some job-related realities with journalists, namely running up against deadlines. Although attorneys don’t rush to finish stories before a midnight printing, we do have to meet filing deadlines to seek relief from erroneous trial-court or intermediate-appellate court decisions. Knowing those deadlines (and how they are calculated) is paramount to correctly perfecting appeals. Lawyers can, at times, find solace in rule-based mechanisms to extend those deadlines if they miscalculate. But, attorneys should not exclusively rely on extensions to preserve their clients’ opportunities to seek appellate relief.
When Does the Clock Start?
Since counting should (hopefully) not be an issue, when perfecting a direct appeal in a Texas intermediate appellate, there are two related concepts to master. The first is what triggers the deadlines for filing a notice of appeal. The deadline is calculated from the date the trial-court judge signs the appealable judgment or order. Therefore, the proverbial clock starts ticking on the judgment’s/order’s signing date, not on the date the judge rendered the judgment and not on the day that the clerk filed the judgment. Continue Reading