What should I look for when searching for a defense attorney? 46 Answers as of July 08, 2013

I have a criminal charge against me and am in need of a good defense attorney who can get me out of jail time. How can I know the track record of differnet attorney and what should I look for?

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Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
Ask about experience with the particular type of case you have, experience within the jurisdiction of your case, and check their bio on their website, if they have one. It is very hard to check a criminal lawyer's won/loss record.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/19/2011
Attorney at Law
Attorney at Law | Steven C. Bullock
Get a referral from a trusted friend or relative.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/16/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
Many lawyers maintain profiles where their past work can be viewed and where former clients can post reviews and feedback. Our firm is highly committed to maintaining an excellent reputation in the field of Criminal Defense in Louisiana. If you are seeking legal representation in Louisiana with respect to a criminal matter, feel free to conduct some searches on myself, Seth J Bloom and Bloom Legal LLC.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/15/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
Word of mouth referrals from friends and relatives are best. You can also call the County Bar association Lawyer referral service for a recommendation and you can search on the internet about the attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/3/2013
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
There is a directory of attorneys called Martindale-Hubble and is normally located at each county law library. The listing details the name, specialty and rating of each attorney.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/8/2013
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should Google criminal lawyers in your city. Look for a sole practitioner with more than 20 years experience who does nothing but criminal law. You will not know his track record but you can ask him how many cases he has handled like yours, how many felony trials he had last year and how many he won. You should meet with the top three and see how they look, how they dress, and what their office looks like. Ask for a flat rate or a cap on the fee and see what the hourly rate is. Call the Bar Association and ask if they have a good record or a lot of complaints. All lawyers get a few complaints but if they have been disciplined, suspended, or found guilty of misconduct or had a grievance found against them you may take that into consideration. Never ask your friends or family for a recommendation, they are not likely to know what the best lawyers are in any particular specialty.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    If by track record you mean success rate, there's no way to know that other than by asking a particular attorney. The main thing to look for is the experience level of the attorney, the areas the attorney has experience with (that it corresponds to what your brother is charged with) and then overall how responsive the attorney is to answering questions and the like. Your comfort level with the attorney enough to confide in the attorney is very important. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    The best way is by asking attorneys your questions. You can also consult with people who have been ina similar situation and see who they recommend. Online reviews through Google searches are another good method.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    A personal interview with the attorney would be the best way to determine whether you felt comfortable with his services. Alternatively, a personal referral from a satisfied client would give you a good idea of his capabilities.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    You should hire a lawyer who has many years of experience and is an experienced trial lawyer. Many defense lawyers do not have a lot of trial experience. This effects their ability to negotiate for you if the prosecutor knows that the lawyer seldom takes cases to trial. I think that in general you want to find one who is a former prosecutor. Prosecutors get a lot of trial experience,
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Someone that tells you the truth, not what you want to hear, and who explains what are reasonable expectations, and who you trust, and who you can afford, and who is experienced in criminal defense. No attorney can ever guarantee you no jail time, nor predict the outcome, nor even give an intelligent opinion, without reviewing and knowing all the charges, evidence, police reports, testimony, priors history, etc. That gets back to reasonable expectations. CAN the case end up being reduced or dropped? Sure. Is that likely, just because you want it? No. The police and DA don't spend time and money arresting, charging and prosecuting cases only to drop them without a fight. Of course you can fight it. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, and can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all possible defenses with whatever admissible and credible witnesses, evidence and facts are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or at trial. There is no magic wand to wave and make it all disappear. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion, reduction or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    In a word, "Experience." But also commitment to you as a client. You want a lawyer who works hard to protect your interests. You want a lawyer who will do what you want to do in terms of pleading guilty or going to trial. At the same time, you want an attorney who will call you out when you're heading toward disaster. If you have a drug or alcohol problem, a good lawyer will insist on you getting a substance abuse evaluation and entering treatment. To my way of thinking, every client is a human being and my job is to help my clients come out of trouble better than going into it. If that means counseling, your lawyer should have the chutzpa to tell you so. Bottom line, you want a competent lawyer who enjoys trial work and negotiation. You want a lawyer who will talk to the prosecutor's witnesses and your witnesses. You want an attorney who is diligent, tenacious and willing to dog the prosecutor until he or she gets an acceptable plea deal and, failing that, will fight bare knuckle with the prosecutor and cops to give you the best chance of being acquitted. To find such a lawyer, I would suggest a few things: First, Avvo.com has attorney rankings that will give you a good start. Also, Martindale Hubble on line rates lawyers according to their peer reviews. I think it is reasonably reliable because lawyers tend to be competitive and somewhat cut throat. If lawyers say a lawyer is good and ethical, he or she probably is. Last but not least, talk to friends and relatives, talk to bail bonds people and bartenders. They have their favorites and that is usually based on client feedback.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    Without know the facts of your case, I would be very careful of any attorney who promises you the sky. In looking for an attorney I would want to know how many years he/she has been in practice and what are that person's areas of practice. Has he/she handled these kinds of cases before. You also need to be realistic in your expectations. Without knowing the facts of your case, it may be that there is no way to avoid jail time. You need to be open to the advice you get. As I tell my clients when they first come to see me: "I am going to tell you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear".
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    In my opinion, there is no substitute for major case (felony) trial experience. I would look for a lawyer that has tried Class A felony cases. Michael Morgan
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Try to get a feel for them. ASk how many of these types of cases they have handled. Ask how much they charge. Ask what result they think they will be able to get.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    There are several criteria you can use to select the best criminal defense law firm for your case Here are some critical questions to ask. l. How many years has the law firm been defending people for the exact crime you are accused of? 2. Does the law firm have a lawyer that goes to the court where you case is pending VERY OFTEN. IF you can find a law firm that has a lawyer that limits his practice to your particular court that is the best. 3. What is the law firms rating with Martindale-Hubbell. This company has been rating lawyers for many positive qualities for many years. Lawyers can be rated AV, BV, CV or no rating. Of course you will want to seek out a lawyer or law firm with an AV rating. 4. AVVO.com rates lawyers for many important qualities. They rate lawyers from 0 to 10.0. Of course you should look for a lawyer or law firm with as high of a rating as possible and if it was me I would not retain a lawyer whose rating was less than 9.0 5. Finally, you will want to speak with the lawyer and make sure you can "communicate" with the lawyer by phone and email so you are not waiting too long for responses to your questions as the case proceeds.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Anderson & Carnahan
    Anderson & Carnahan | Stephen Anderson
    Ask the attorney if he or she tries cases and what is their track record.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    Look for someone that you can work with and knows the law in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You should look for someone who practices criminal law in the area in which you were charged. There are some attorney who only practice DUI law, some specialize in other criminal areas. As far as the attorney's track record, there is no organization where an attorney's wins or loses are kept.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    Talk to a few different attorneys. If they will not talk to you on the phone, they will not talk to you when you hire them. Pick the person you are confident in after your interviews. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Alabama. Responses are based solely on Alabama law unless stated otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    The best way is to have one recommended by a friend or another attorney who know the work of the defense lawyer. Otherwise try to interview several State Bar certified criminal law specialists who you can then research. Many have websites or have been written up in some way. One way not to do it is go for the ones who send you "jail mail" after having gotten your name from jail records.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Ask other disinterested lawyers, ie real estate or family lawyer who they would talk to if they were charged. Ask local cops who they would use if they or family member were charged. Interview the lawyer and ask how experienced they are, see if they are knowledgeable.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    I would recommend that, in looking for an experienced criminal defense attorney, you should talk with family and friends, and also meet with the prospective criminal attorney. For instance, ask the lawyer about their trial experience and how many cases they have tried. Also, since I am a former state and federal prosecutor for over 25 years, I believe that prior prosecution experience helps, too! Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    In selecting an attorney, things to look for would include the person's experience, not only as a criminal defense attorney but as a trial attorney. How much time do they spend in the courtroom. Does the person practice in the area of criminal defense. What types of cases has he/she handled in the past, i.e. does he/she handle the high profile cases. Also you may wish to obtain recommendations from friends and co-workers. Finally, make an appointment and interview the attorney. You are hiring the attorney and you should feel comfortable with him/her.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    You should look for someone with experience with the court your case is in, you should shy away from attorneys who are on the local court appointment list [because they cannot be too aggressive or they get kicked off the list], you should look for someone who concentrates exclusively on criminal law, you should look for someone who has been around for a while, and you should not take the cheapest lawyer you come across, because any fool can hang out a "criminal lawyer" shingle.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    A lawyer that the District Attorney's office knows will try a case if they do not give a reasonable offer of probation or minimal time to serve given the particular facts of the case. It also helps if the lawyer has beaten the State on legal technicalities such as dismissing an indictment or suppressing the evidence. If you are in south Alabama, call my secretary to schedule an appointment to talk to me. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    If the lawyer is from one of the dozens of flyers you will likely receive in the mail, and particularly if they have an '800' number, or include a so-called 'discount coupon, you should probably keep looking. Hire local, not some out-of-town Attorney who will take your money, never show up, and just pay a local lawyer (local to the jurisdiction of your case) to make a 'special appearance' for a nominal fee and deal the case out as soon as possible with a minimum of time, work and fuss. You might never know the difference.Youshould choose a experienced, local lawyer, who appears in court for you personally. If you do not, the mistake was yours to make. Does it make sense to you that a lawyer from say, Los Angeles or Ontario, will want to appear in say, Murrieta,as many times as an Attorney with an office in Murrieta or Temecula, for the same amount of money? Well, it often requires several appearances to successfully resolve a case. Use common sense. Shop around. Understand what you are paying for. What is in the contract? Is the chargea felony? You should only be paying up through the Preliminary Hearing, at first. Never pay for a trial up front, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. The lawyer may be well aware that the case should (and will) be resolved by negotation (a disposition), so why pay the extra thousands of dollars for atrial you might not need and that the lawyer might never intend that you have anyway? There are many ethical and conscientious Attorneys out there and the truth is that most will try to do a good job. Skill, experience and talent vary widely, however. There are also, unfortunately,a fewunethical practitioners out there as well. The phone book is still a fairly reliable way to find someone. Word-of-mouth can be good, though often people really have no idea if they received a good deal on their own case, or not, and so might unreservedly recommend a lawyer they believe to have done a good job on their case, who actually accepted whatever deal the District Attorney was first offering. You want someone who primarily practices Criminal Defense, not someone who is 'moonlighting' with the occasional Criminal Law case. One or two areas of practice is okay. If an Attorney has an ad advertising that he or she handles every type of case under the sun, how competent do you think he or she can really be at any area of law? Also, beware of so-called 'success stories' in advertising. Any Attorney who has been practicing for any length of time has hundreds of such successful resolutions, so that type of advertising is misleading. Youcan never know if some listed "dismissal" was a motion by the District Attorneydue to some issue with the evidence or witnesses completely beyond the Attorney's control, and the Attorney is just trying to take credit for it. There are websites such as AVVO, that purport to rate Attorneys. The fact is that the ratings are solely formed on the basis of how much the individual Attorney contributes to AVVO! It tells you nothing about their real effectiveness. Also, beware of any Attorney who advertises the fact that they are a former Deputy District Attorney. Is that a recommendation? Does having previously been a prosecutor make you more likely to be a good defense Attorney, or less likely?! Use your common sense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky
    Law Office of Michael Brodsky | Michael Brodsky
    Choosing a good criminal defense attorney is a difficult decision. After all, its not like you can ask your friend or neighbor who they hired for their last felony! That said, you can look them up on a site like AVVO, although you should be careful not to put too much stock in their ratings as they can be arbitrary and misleading. If you know a non-criminal defense attorney you can trust, asking them for a suggestion might be a good first step. There are also questions you can ask the prospective attorney to help you make a sound decision. How much experience and specialized training do they have in criminal defense? Or for the particular charge your brother is facing? Are they willing to take a case to trial when necessary? Do they have a good working knowledge relationship with the judges and prosecutors in the jurisdiction where your brother is charged? Finally, be sure you and, if possible, your brother, have a frank conversation with the attorney so you know he or she is someone you are comfortable with entrusting so important a task as defending a criminal charge. Good luck! *Please note that this is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This post represents only the posters opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed only in the State of Washington. For more information about our law firm and services, please visit our website at * *www.brodskylawfirm.com. If this post was helpful to you, please remember to vote for it. Thank you.*
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Tell me what county and I can probably recommend a good one as I have been doing this 46 years and was president of the statewide criminal defense lawyers organization (California Attorneys for Criminal Justice). Experience is one factor but really the most important thing is whether you like him and whether you feel he cares about you. For example there are maybe 50 top flight criminal lawyers in the Bay Area. As I tell clients, any of us can do the job probably just as well, so it really turns on who you feel comfortable with. If you are rushed out of the office, or if he keeps you waiting, or takes a phone call and keeps on talking, this is not the guy for you. What are you charged with?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    How long has he been practicing? Do you know other people that have used him? What is his track record? Does he seem to know what he is talking about? Ask these questions to try to pick a good attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    Look for someone with experience in criminal law. Also, be weary of promises. No attorney can "guarantee" anything when it comes to the outcome of trials or when they can get you out of jail, usually they are just making sure they get their money. Ask about their experience with the type of case you are charged with and LISTEN. You will get a sense of the attorney and you have to pick someone you trust. Finally, look them up on the state bar association to ensure they have no disciplinary action pending against them.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Look for someone who has plenty of experience in the area of law you are seeking. Look for ones that have experience in the specific charge you have. Usually attorneys from the area are best because they are more familiar with the judges, prosecutors, and probation department. Ask around and see if anyone has any recommendations.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    If you have been charged with a crime, it would be best to hire an attorney with experience in the Court where your case is pending. You might be able to run a search on Casenet to learn about various attorneys and some of the cases they have handled. But, there is much more involved than you are likely to learn in this way. Many times it is best to arrange for a consultation with with an experienced attorney. When you meet with the attorney, you will know whether you trust that attorney, and that is the most important criteria for you to use. If you are in my geographical area I might be able to offer my services to you. I have handled hundreds of criminal cases in the thirty-three years that I have been practicing law.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    Look for an attorney experienced in criminal law. Ask other attorneys who they recommend for criminal law. Research the attorney's website for additional information
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    Look for one with experience handling the type of cases you are facing (ask them).
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    There is no way to check someone's track record. Interview a few lawyers and go with your gut.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    3 things to ask: 1) Will this lawyer personally represent you from start to finish, or simply take your money and pass your case down to someone else? 2) Does this lawyer specialize in criminal defense, or does this lawyer take whatever walks in the door? 3) Does this lawyer lure you in on a low initial fee, only to stick it to you down the road?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    You should research the attorney's background on the internet firstly. Then speak with the attorney and find out what kind of experience they have handling your kind of case and in that particular court. You should also meet with the attorney in person. Ask for a free consultation. When you meet with the attorney, see if he or she understands your goals in the case and your concerns. You must feel comfortable with that person. They are representing your interests. Make sure they understand what those interests are and that they are qualified to meet them.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    When searching for a criminal lawyer, you want to find someone who is experienced in CRIMINAL law - not family law, civil suits, etc.; is respected by prosecutors, judges & other criminal defense lawyers; who is aggressive but personable; who knows the law; who is interested in your case and you; who does not have too many cases; who is not "all about the money"'; who takes and returns your calls in a timely manner; who answers your questions and provides relevant information & suggestions on how to handle your situation; who has positive client reviews. You should search your area, especially if you are in a larger population where there are plenty of lawyers because local lawyers don't have to charge as much because they do not have to travel. You should check sites like AVVO where lawyers have client reviews. You should talk to 3 to 5 lawyers and interview with at least 2. You know how to judge people - if they are arrogant, jerks, shy, etc. - they may not be good for your case. Are you comfortable with them? Can you afford them? (You do not want to get into a situation where you hire a lawyer who later withdraws from your case because you do not pay - you won't get your $ back.)
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland
    The Law Offices of Dustan Neyland | Dustan Neyland
    The first thing to do is to avoid the lawyers that want to charge you by the court setting or the hour and the ones that guarantee a particular result. Any reputable criminal defense lawyer will quote you a flat fee to handle your case. They will also put that fee in writing in a contract and will want to meet with you at their office. Try to avoid the "just bring some money to court" guys. Interview a few lawyers and see which one is the best for you and that you are most comfortable with. Do not go to anyone who charges a consultation fee if you are seeking an attorney and have a pending case. In the criminal defense world, attorneys only charge a consultation fee if you are being investigated and not yet charged with a criminal offense. After you find a few good lawyers, look at their reviews on-line and see if they have any disciplinary actions from the state bar. After all that research, you should be able to decide on an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Ask the attorney about track record. As for what to look for, get the best attorney you can afford. Don't just go with the cheapest. Ask what the attorney's case load is like, will they be representing you in court or will it be an "associate" attorney, who will you speak to about your case (attorney or support staff), etc. All important considerations. Most importantly, are you comfortable with them?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Its hard to get track record info but you can look at the News section of my web site. Also check out my Bio - I am a former federal and State prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Client references.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    The record is not really public. You have to ask them the questions that make you comfortable as a client. Cost, experience, knowledge, local knowledge and knowledge of the players are most important.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
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