Who is it? Well, the simple answer is that the best lawyer for one person’s needs may not be the best for another’s. Within any particular city or area of practice, there is no clear-cut answer. That is why it is necesary to find the best lawyer for your particular case, who best suits your needs, understands your perspectives, and makes you feel comfortable with their level of experience and knowledge.
If you are accused of a serious offense, you need serious representation. Whether the charges are well-founded or not, federal or state, you need help. Where do you start?
When a National Football League (NFL) team needs a first-rate quarterback, they do not start looking in the National Basketball Association (NBA). When a star pitcher is injured in the majors, he is not replaced by the world’s best figure skater. And when you are faced with loss of freedom or incarceration, your best friend’s divorce attorney may not be the right person to represent you, no matter how much praise they have received.
Within the St. Louis region and southern Illinois, there are literally dozens of criminal defense attorneys. High profile or little known, many attorneys are exceptionally qualified to represent you. Experience, price, and personality range, but there is no shortage of talented representation. Yet, the mere accusation against you may inhibit your ability to be objective about your choice. That is why it is important to interview before you choose. If you simply pick the largest spread in the phone book, or the “best lawyer” from last year’s advertisement in a local magazine, you may be paying more for marketing than representation. If you do not want your private concerns blasted across the media, then a high profile attorney may not be your best bet. And if you have been in trouble before, you should already have an idea about whether your last lawyer was the best choice.
Although not exhaustive, below please find a few suggested questions to ask when interviewing a potential criminal defense attorney.
- Do you have trial experience, and if so, how much?
- Have you successfully defended my type of charge?
- Are you going to really be my lawyer, or are you giving my case to someone else in your office?
- What am I paying for – a trial or renovating your office?
- Will you be there for me when I need you, or will I have to wait two weeks for an appointment?
- How many cases are you currently handling?
- How much will this cost from beginning to end?
- What kind of additional expenses might there be?
Further, below please find a list of danger signs you may want to identify.
- Someone who tells you how many cases they have won, but not how many they have lost. They are either bragging or lying.
- Someone who tells you they are personal friends with the judge or prosecutor. It is unethical to suggest a personal relationship may influence the outcome.
- Someone who guarantees a result, or tells you that for an additional fee they can do so. This is straight illegal.
- Someone who constantly reschedules your appointments. This person may be too busy to give your case the attention it needs.
- Someone who talks down to you. This is the type of arrogance jurors, judges, and prosecutors dislike. You will too.
- Someone who tells you all about another client’s case, especially if it is/was a high profile case. This is someone who does not respect the attorney-client relationship, and will not respect yours either.
- Someone who brags about the recent renovation of his office. Ask him how much of his last client’s fee paid for the carpeting. The contents of this article are the property of KesslerWilliams, LLC. Permission to reprint this article will be granted upon request.