No one likes to think about needing a criminal defense lawyer, which means many people are at a disadvantage when the unthinkable happens and they find themselves in need of a defense lawyer. If you find yourself in this situation, you probably already know that time is of the essence, but that doesn't give you an excuse to call the first name you find in the yellow pages. Follow these tips for looking for and hiring a criminal defense lawyer to handle your case.
Doing an initial search for a criminal defense lawyer
This part of the search can be done from the comfort of your home and doesn't require face-to-face meetings or conversations over the phone.
Check the yellow page listings of lawyers in your area and note those that appear to have the experience and expertise you need. Read the entire ad and jot down the website address for those who you are interested in exploring further.
Visit their website and read it thoroughly. Look for information about the background and experience of each member of the firm. Check for any professional affiliations. Reputable lawyers will have a professional website free of spelling and grammatical errors. If the website looks sloppy or lacks attention to detail, chances are that is the kind of work you can expect from the members of the firm.
Do an Internet search on the names of both the firm and the specific criminal defense lawyers you are interested in. Look for evidence of positive press, community involvement or high profile cases they may have been involved in.
Check with your state bar association to find out if the lawyer is in good standing. You may be able to access the site online and do a search for the lawyer.
Check local newspaper archives for any articles or news reports about the lawyer.
Ask friends and acquaintances about the lawyer's reputation in the area.
Narrowing Down Your Choices
Now that you have done some research, you should have a list of 2 to 4 lawyers you are considering. It is time to make initial calls to speak to the lawyer. Most provide a free initial consultation. This meeting allows you to assess the lawyer and to get an idea of what he can offer you.
Make note of the office staff. While your criminal defense lawyer will do the major work of preparing and presenting your case, he often depends on office staff, too. Look for a well-staffed office with professional employees. Note whether the staff is courteous and friendly and whether they appear ready to help. Lackadaisical staff who lack professionalism should be a red flag.
Get a brochure of the firm from the office staff.
Ask for references and check them out before making a decision.
Note your comfort level with the lawyer when you have a face-to-face meeting. Don't be afraid to ask questions to determine the level of expertise the lawyer has in handling similar cases.
Ask for a copy of the lawyer's retainer agreement and ask for an explanation of any terms you do not understand. Review the agreement again later after you have left the office. Don't be afraid to call and ask questions if you find areas that are confusing, such as payment. The lawyer will likely require an upfront payment. He may charge a flat fee or by the hour. As a rule, more experienced lawyers charge a higher fee, but this is one time when looking for the lowest price may not be in your best interest.
While it is important to obtain a lawyer as soon as possible, taking the time to find the best lawyer for you is also important. Doing a little research and checking the background of potential lawyers may prevent you from unpleasant surprises later. It may even mean the difference between winning or losing your case.
For more information and legal assistance, talk with local criminal attorney firms, such as Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices.Share
8 December 2015
It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.