People will frequently ask whether or not they should hire an attorney for the direct appeal. This is a difficult question for most families. They have spent considerable money on the trial attorney and the case has not gone their way. They also may not trust the system or lawyers, or both. They may be leery to hire a new lawyer to attack the convictions and sentence. This is understandable.
The odds are not in your favor. The Department of Justice has the national reversal rate at 12%. Far less than the fifty-fifty odds that people want to hear when they are worried about their loved one or worried about spending more money.
However, you must file an appeal in order to ever receive any type of relief. You must file an appeal if you want the federal courts to hear your constitutional claims after your conviction becomes final. If you do not appeal then your conviction stands and you serve the remainder of your sentence.
so the question becomes whether you qualify for a public defender or if you want to hire an attorney. Either way you should ensure that the person handling the direct appeal is well versed in the law and will fight for you.