What should I look for when searching for a defense attorney? 53 Answers as of August 08, 2011

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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Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
The best way to find a good criminal defense is, just as with any kind of attorney, by referral from a friend or another attorney who is familiar with the attorneys work. If that is not possible you should attempt to find a criminal law specialist certified by the State Bar of California. While this not a guarantee that you will feel that that attorney is the right person for you, it is still a guarantee of experience and reputation in that he or she has achieved that status from his own profession. In addition you can always go to local bar association Lawyer Referral Service. These services also screen the attorneys to whom they provide cases for basic experience in the area. The worst way to find an attorney is from the jail mail that one receives after an arrest. These attorneys merely pay someone for access to this information and appears the only way they get clients, not a good recommendation. Finally, with regard to DUIs I would stay away from most DUI specialists who are often nothing more than high volume mills who take discount retainers and do little more than plead you guilty at the earliest opportunity without investigating the case thoroughly. However you select should be someone with whom you fee comfortable, can talk to and whom you can trust.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/31/2011
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
First and foremost, look for an attorney who is going to tell you the cold hard facts about your case.. An attorney who tells you what you NEED to hear, not what you WANT to hear. Remember, there is no such thing as a "slam dunk case". Ask about the types of cases the attorney has handled. Is the attorney a litigator, ie, does he try cases. A good defense attorney is not afraid to take a case to trial, but also remember, not every case SHOULD go to trial and sometimes it is better to take a deal and avoid the risks. You also want to be comfortable (to a degree) with the attorney you hire because there has to be a certain amount of trust. Ask questions. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/26/2011
Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux
Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux | Scott Tibbedeaux
You can check website bios on the attorneys or get personal references. When you get it narrowed down to a couple of attorneys then ask questions in regards to representation such as: What is your track record? (in regards to pleas bargains, lesser charges, successful outcomes); What are the attorney fees?; and Are client references available for contact?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/26/2011
The Law Firm of Steven K. Franger
The Law Firm of Steven K. Franger | Steven Franger
The following are good tips provided by the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar: 1) Do not delay! If you are being investigated for or charged with a crime (including DUIs), you should consult a lawyer immediately. You will not be able to find a lawyer if you wait until the day before a court appearance. 2) Remember you are hiring a professional that you can trust. If you are uncomfortable with the way you are initially treated, you will probably be uncomfortable with that person as your lawyer. If the lawyer is not professional or you cannot trust them, DO NOT HIRE THEM! 3) Call AT LEAST three lawyers. The more you initially call, the more you will understand if you are being given accurate information. 4) Talk with each lawyer over the phone about the basic nature of the case (e.g. charges, jurisdiction, next court appearance, etc). 5) Talk with each lawyer about his/her experience level (how long have they practiced, where have they practiced, have they handled cases like yours, etc.). 6) Talk with each lawyer about what an initial, in person consultation would cost (some lawyers charge for an initial consultation, many do not). 7) If it seems too good to be true, it is. No lawyer should promise you that he/she can have your case dismissed. No lawyer should promise you to win the case for you. If they do, keep looking for a lawyer. Remember, you are the primary judge whether a lawyer is adequately serving your interests. 8) Talk with each lawyer about how much he/she charges for a case as you have described (flat fee? hourly fee?), how much time they expect to spend on the case, and how much of a retainer he/she requires. Note that a lawyer's retainer request is not always intended to be an estimate of total fees. Also remember, hiring a lawyer can be and often is expensive. When comparing lawyers, you may consider a lawyer's hourly rate as a more accurate measure of cost than their quoted retainers. A $100 difference may not seem like much, but it can add up quickly. For example, if Lawyer A works a full day on your case, at the hourly rate of $250 per hour, the cost to you is $2,250. If Lawyer B works the same day, billing at $350 per hour, the cost would be $3,150 almost a thousand dollars more. Having said that, it should be true (but not always) that Lawyer B may be more experienced and with that experience may be able to resolve your case more quickly, and more successfully. Bottom line - if the rates you are quoted are extremely low or extremely high, you may want to keep looking for a lawyer. 9) Are they a lawyer? This isn't usually a problem, however, you can find out whether the lawyer you are speaking with is in Good
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    You should look for someone who has been practicing in the area of criminal law in the physical location of the Court. Someone who knows the local practices and may be acquainted with the Court as well as the District Attorney's Office.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    Thank you for your inquiry When looking for an attorney, you need someone who is familiar with your type of case, and one that you are comfortable with. This includes ability to pay for services as well as your being comfortable with the approach of the attorney. When you find these things, you should hire that attorney. Records are not kept, and attorneys often brag about results. But this is meaningless. Even an honest answer about a case can be misleading. For example, I represented a person charged with 3 counts of attempt murder and one count of reckless discharge and felony firearm. All of the attempt murder charges were dismissed, but he was convicted of the other charges. It was a victory and a loss at the same time. So would the attorney say he won the case even though the client went to jail? It is all a matter of spin, and is not accurate at all. It was a great victory to avoid life in prison, but the conviction was a loss. Do I tell my next client that I won or lost the case? You should focus to an attorney who regularly practices in the court where you are charged and who is familiar with your type of case. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    The first thing you have to ask yourself is what is your legal defense budget, because the more money you have to spend the better, more experienced attorney you can retain.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    If you can, talk to friends and relatives. See if anyone has had a similar situation and see who they would call. If you get recommendations, do some research on the lawyers they recommend. Martindale Hubble is a publication that rates attorneys. Avvo.com is another good source. By all means, interview a few lawyers. Get their philosophy of defense. See if they have experience as a prosecutor or public defender so they have relevant training and experience. Finally, make sure you have a good fit and that the lawyer will honor your wishes as far as what to do with the case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You can go on the internet to find out information about the attorney, contact the bar association in the county where he practices and talk to other attorneys that know him to see what his reputation is.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    You should perform some Google searches, etc to see what you can determine about the attorney (client reviews, published work, etc.) Sites like Avvo and others allow attorneys to maintain profiles where former clients can post reviews and recommendations. Also be sure to verify that the attorney has experience in the area of your case. Finally, many attorneys offer free initial consultations so you should schedule a time to meet with the attorney to discuss your case and determine how well you believe you will work together. If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, I invite you to contact my firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Do an internet search but bear in mind that most lawyers do not write their own websites nor do they write all that wonderful appearing information on their site. The best way to know if someone is a good lawyer is by what their clients say about them. You might check avvo.com which includes a rating and client comments. Also, Martindale-Hubbell carries a rating for lawyers. Go for a lawyer with an AV rating. Finally, talk on the phone with 3 to 5 lawyer and then visit in person with at least 2 lawyers. Personality is very important in criminal cases because lawyers need to be smart - know the law, but also personable and able to communicate with a jury. If you are not comfortable with the person, don't hire them.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    My advise is that you look for someone with experience and check the local attorney licensing board to ensure that no disciplinary action exists regarding that particular attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Here is how you should decide what criminal defense law firm to hire. l. How much experience does the law firm have in criminal defense? 2. How much experience do they have in the exact crime you are accused of. 3. How often does the lawyer from the law firm go to the exact court your case is pending in. 4. What is the lawyers rating with AVVO.com 5. What is the law firms rating with Martindale Hubbell.com This is a good list to use.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP
    A.L.A. Law Group, LLP | Lauren M. Mayfield
    You should have a consultation with several criminal defense attorneys and ask as many questions as you can in the consultation. You should choose the one that is most capable of answering your questions and the one that takes the greatest care in listening to the facts of your case. If an attorney does not go over the facts with you and gives you a thorough explanation of the plan on how to handle your case that is a very bad sign. Further, you should ask the attorney if they have experience dealing with that kind of matter in the past. Do your homework before going to see the attorney by checking out their website and googling them to see if any negative content comes up about them. When it comes to picking an attorney it is very important that you are confident and comfortable with the attorney you select.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    You should interview an attorney and make sure you are comfortable with them.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend that you talk with family and friends about good lawyers. Also, you can check online and the phone book. But it is important that you talk directly with the prospective criminal lawyer and ask them good questions about their experience in cases like yours, along with how many criminal trials they have had. Also, I recommend that you consider a lawyer who, like me, has a good background of experience as a former prosecutor. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    You can call the local bar association for referrals, check client reviews on websites such as avvo.com, speak to people who have needed attorneys and ask for referrals. You should look for someone who knows the law and procedures, who communicates with you well, and who will work hard for you. Price is also important, but should not be the determining factor. Call me for a consultation and to get your search started.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    First you should look for an attorney whose practice is substantially or entirely devoted to criminal defense. Next look for trial experience. Most important is finding an attorney with whom you can establish a good rapor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    In my opinion, the most important things to look for in an attorney are how knowledgeable they are in your type of case, the court that you are in, and the relationships that they have with the parties involved, including the District Attorney, the judge, the court officers and the clerks. Knowledge of these things and these people can only come from experience and I would want that type of experience in the lawyer who I select to represent me and to advise me. One way to get this information is to speak with friends and associates of their experiences. You can also check online with sites such as Martindale Hubbell and Avvo where they rank and rate attorneys. However the ranking and rating alone can be misleading since things like speaking engagements and published cases boost a lawyer's ranking and rating but truly provide little insight as to their potential. A published opinion may simply mean that a case went to trial and was appealed to the appeals court, since all appeals are published. Cases are appealed for many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the lawyer's skills. Similarly, speaking engagements are easy enough to get but I personally don't have the time to do them. A few things that are important that you can get online are client testimonials and cases summaries. From these you can see how other clients fared in cases similar to yours, and probably more importantly, what past client's write about their experiences with this attorney. These testimonials can act as a substitute for the opinions of friends. See what other people thought about the lawyer you are considering. Finally, you should talk to the lawyer on the telephone. Ask if the lawyer has had other cases such as yours. Ask what he thinks are potential outcomes. Ask what other types of law he/she practices (you want someone who is focused on your area of law). I provide free telephone consultations specifically so that the client and I can evaluate each other. It is better to discuss the case initially over the phone and get a feel for the potential client and their case before wasting time to meet at the office. If the case is not an area in which I practice or if expectations are unreasonable, I would prefer to know this as soon as possible. From the client's perspective, they can assess my knowledge of their case and my knowledge of the law in general. I always tell potential clients that they need to trust me to guide them through this difficult process and trust that I will work to achieve the very best results available for them. If they do not feel that they can trust me to do this, they should hire another attorney in whom they feel this trust. Good luck in your search.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    There is a publication known as Martindale Hubble which is usually found in most county law libraries. This publication contains the names, addressed, specialities and a rating for each attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    As with any professional, recommendations from friends and family is important. Also, does the attorney have criminal defense experience and if yes, in what areas. Also, does the attorney have courtroom experience. In the end, a good criminal defense attorney will make sure that your rights are protected and you are treated fairly, but an attorney is not a guarantee of no jail time if that is indicated.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law
    Alanna D. Coopersmith, Attorney at Law | Alanna D. Coopersmith
    I would look for an attorney who you can relate to. I would look for an attorney who practices in that particular county and court. I would ask how many jury trials she/he has done.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should Google criminal lawyers in your city and look for a sole practitioner who has at least 20 years experience. e should specialize in criminal law exclusively and be willing to offer you a free consultation. Meet with at least three attorneys and see what their office looks like. Check out how they dress, how they speak, and what kind of personality they have. Call the Bar Association and see if they have a lot of complaints. Ask them what their fee will be and try to get a flat rate as opposed to just paying them however much they ask for. Ask them how many felony cases they tried in the last three years and how many they won...and tell them you will need proof of this so they aren't able to lie to you. Ask them how many cases like your they have handled in the last three years. Ask them who the District Attorney is on the case and if they know him. Ask him how he would handle the case and what you can expect. Find out if he is familiar with the judge in your case and how many cases he has had with that judge. Almost no clients ask these questions or know to ask for a flat rate. They will pay whatever the lawyer charges and don't make the lawyers bid for their case to get a lower fee. They hire an attorney on the advice of a friend or family member who know nothing about who the best criminal attorneys are. If you know a deputy in the courthouse, or a stenographer, clerk, or other court employee they can recommend a few good lawyers who they have seen get good results. If you want the most experienced criminal lawyers in New York City be prepared to pay five or ten thousand in advance for any felony and the total fee will be much more if the matter goes to trial. If you talk to the Legal Aid attorneys in that court they will tell you which of the good lawyers may take the case for a lot less money if it is just a plea. No one will take on a felony trial cheap, but a plea is usually a few phone calls and maybe three court appearances. that could be as little as $1,500-$3,000. If you don't have that kind of money you will be better off with a public defender than a lawyer who is not a criminal lawyer. Never use a general practice lawyer, you need a veteran criminal attorney or he will not know how to handle the case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    The best way to know about an attorney is to speak to him. Ask him about his experience, how long he has been in practice and how varied his practice is.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You should talk with several and see if they try to deal with the issues early or tend to wait. Often you can have much better results if the lawyer is able to jump on the case and work on it early.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Does he know what he is talking about? Does he listen? What do others say about him? Has he been in the paper? Do you know anyone in the court system or law enforcement that you could ask for an opinion?
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates
    Law Offices of George Woodworth & Associates | George Woodworth
    The first place to get information about any Criminal Defense Attorney in California is the California State Bar Association. The State Bar as it is referred to and its Attorney members can be found at: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member.aspx where you can find member's records. Here you can find whether an Attorney has ever had any actions or disciplinary punishments levied against him/her by the State Bar and their current member status. This is an important indication of whether or not an Attorney has had problems staying in line with Bar ethics and standards of conduct. Attorneys with clean, unblemished records would of course be the most desirable type Attorney to consider. Also, many Attorneys now have websites, brochures, and client results/recommendations that can be consulted. Local Attorney lists can be found on web too. Don't hesitate to ask what the Attorneys background and experience is, and how many years he's been practicing law. Ask questions, it's your case!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Experience and competence. Do not be fooled by former prosecutors that suggest they can get a better deal. They cannot. Do not be fooled by attorneys that do "some" criminal defense, they are not experts. Ultimately, you need to meet with the person and ask questions about your case. If you feel comfortable, then it is probably a good fit. Some cheap attorneys are really bad and will regret taking the case for such a low fee resulting in poor effort. Some expensive attorneys will take your money and not actually work. Ask the attorney how many cases they have open and how often they go to trial. If the attorney is too busy, well. If the attorney is scared to try a case, well.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Thomas Baynton
    Law Office of Thomas Baynton | Thomas B Baynton
    One of the best ways that you can ensure that you have a dedicated attorney is to make sure the attorney is a member of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan. You can inquire about the attorney's experience also.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Barry Melton
    Law Office of Barry Melton | Barry Melton
    Look for a lawyer with a reputation for honesty and integrity, and give particular attention to whether or not you can communicate effectively and have a "comfort level" with whichever lawyer you choose. Call several lawyers, present your facts and see how they analyze the facts as you present them. Don't simply go with the person who "promises" the best outcome, because - as a general matter an honest lawyer shouldn't make ever make promises about the outcome of a case, particularly during the course of an initial interview.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Interview more than one attorney. Each attorney has a different personality and a different way of practicing. Make sure your goals for the case mesh with the lawyers. Ask detailed questions about the attorney's experience with your particular offense.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    Call me. I have 30 years experience in federal and state courts. Many young attorneys with only a few years experience claim to be experts in the field, but beware. Usually experience equals better results.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You have to go on recommendations and your gut. Interview a few lawyers and pick the one that you like and trust the most.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Advanced Litigation Services
    Advanced Litigation Services | Joseph Iarussi
    You should meet with the attorney, and look at reviews posted on various web sites (google, avvo.com, and martindale-hubbel)
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    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 (consult the attorney's website or get referrals from people you know), the areas the attorney has experience with (that it corresponds to what you are 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: 7/24/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    This has been answered several times before and the answer is the same.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Someone with many years of experience - not a young kid. Also, there is a book called "Best Lawyers in America" by
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    You should check with family and friends to see if they know of a successful and trustworthy attorney to represent you. Searching the Internet (via Google) and reading over reviews performed by former clients is also an excellent method. You should look for an attorney whohas several years of experience (20+ years) and who is available to provide you with assistance 24/7.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/4/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Ask yourself 3 questions: 1) Will this lawyer personally represent me from start to finish, or simply pass my case off to someone else, with a different attorney going to court each time?2) Does this lawyer specialize in criminal defense, or does he/she take whatever walks in the door?3) Does this lawyer lure you in on a low initial fee, only to send you more bills after the first appearance?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    Find out his or her experience. Look on line to see if the attorney has any problems with the bar association. Get involved in conversations with court reporters and bailiffs and see who they say are the best attorneys in the area. One very important thing to remember is you need someone local, not an out-of-towner who is unfamiliar with the personalities of the prosecutors and judges. Your attorney needs to know who to avoid in the local courthouse. And also an important factor is who the attorney sends to court. It may not be the attorney you are speaking to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas
    Law Office of Thomas J. Ogas | Thomas Ogas
    You want an attorney who is: 1) Experienced in the county that your case is in. 2) Has the same Point of View on the case as you do. 3) Is someone you trust. 4) Has the time to personally represent you. You cant really know an attorneys track record. Many advertise their successes, but never mention their failures, and most wins are based more on the facts then the attorneys abilities. Be careful with big advertisers. It costs a lot of money to pay for those ads and so they have to take in a lot of clients, which gives them very little time to spend on each one, or worse, causes them to give cases away to other attorneys to handle them instead. Big advertisers need big volume to pay the bills. You dont want to be just another file on some guys desk. Talk to a couple attorneys who do free consultations to see who you connect with, who gives you confidence that they have the ability to handle the job, and the will to do the job the right way.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Osterman Law LLC
    Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
    What you need is a "Let's Make a Deal" kind of lawyer. Just check the one that charges flat fees, never goes to trial and always sets a plea at the pretrial. Good Luck
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    A great criminal defense attorney is all of the following: a good listener and communicator, is knowledgeable about the law which specifically applies to your case, has at least 10 years of experience in 1) DEFENDING people (beware of former prosecutor who has spent majority of career putting people in jail), 2) practice in court in which your case is filed and knows the judges and prosecutors involved in your case, is conscious of your concerns and expectations, and is honest about the realities of your case. On your end, you need to conduct an interview of the attorney about their knowledge and experience, listen to how they answer your questions and if they explain things in a way that you understand them, beware of any guarantees and settle for nothing less than meeting with the actual lawyer who will be representing you from start to finish. Many law firms will have you meet with either the head lawyer and then reassign your case to a much less experienced lawyer after you pay them or have you meet with a case manager who is, often time, not an attorney and therefore has no business evaluating your case. I hope this answer was helpful. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    I do not believe in the lawyer rating services even though my ratings are high. Good criminal defense lawyers have significant trial experience. I personally would not recommend an attorney that had not tried (as a defense lawyer and not as a prosecutor that later became a criminal defense lawyer) to verdict a jury trial on a few class A felonies. Good trial results come from good trial lawyers and good settlements short of trial are because the prosecutor recognizes that the defense lawyer is willing and able to take a case to trial and possibly get a favorable outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Look for a defense attorney with experience and an attorney that you feel comfortable with after speaking with him/her. Look for an attorney with documented trial experience.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Brown Law Offices
    Brown Law Offices | Philip H. Brown
    Look for an attorney that exclusively practices criminal law and has substantial experience as a prosecutor and defense attorney. This kind of experience is essential in getting a client the best possible outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Common question. Someone you trust, you can be comfortable with, who has experience and been in practice a while, who doesnt tell you what you want to hear, who forces you to discuss realistic expectations versus wishful thinking, who doesnt promise the moon or guarantee outcome who you can afford. Ask friends for referrals, contact your local Lawyer Referral Service, look in Christian directories, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Look for someone that has years of experience in the area of law that you need him for. Check with the bar association to see if he has ever been disciplined. Ask around to see what his general reputation is by those who know him or any former clients. You can ask him for references as well. If you know any clerks or judge's secretaries, ask them who they recommend as they see defense attorneys all the time, good and bad.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq.
    Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq. | John J. Connors, Esq.
    When you contact an attorney ask him how long he has been practicing criminal law. Ask him what percentqge of his practice is in the criminal courts. Ask him how many trials he has had and whether they were in district or superior courts. The best attorneys practice regularly in supeior court and handle felonies including life felonies. You need a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and is an experienced trial lawyer. Prosecutors know who tries cases and who looks for plea bargains. The best deals go to the trial lawyers because prosecutors know they won't be bluffed but will take the case to trial if need be. They know the others will fold.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    Because every case is unique, "track record" is very subjective. For example, if you were charged with DUI, there are two charges that can be filed for the same conduct. If your lawyer gets you a plea to one count and they drop the other count, you're still convicted of DUI, but some lawyers will list that as "charges dismissed". Focus on finding an attorney that routinely practices in the court where your case will be heard. Look at their backgrounds, reviews, ratings online. Read their website information and begin your screening process. From there, schedule consultations with your top choices. Sit down and discuss your case with them. In your consultation, listen to how they're able (or not able) to answer your questions. Do they have an approach to your defense? What motions do they see that may need to be filed? Do they think your case will go to trial or can it be resolved short of a trial? Have they handled cases similar in the past? Who will actually handle your case? The attorney you met with or a junior associate? From there, a lot of it comes down to how you and your attorney "click." A good working relationship between client and attorney goes a long way. It's like choosing a doctor. Look into their background, then meet with them. Best of luck in the process.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
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