When it comes to finding an experienced criminal defense attorney, the options may seem endless. Should you go with one of the firms you see on billboards and park benches, or should you look for a smaller firm that will provide a more personalized approach to your case?
When looking for a criminal defense attorney, the first place you should look is within your circle. You may have family or friends who have used a certain lawyer before who provided them with exceptional service and results. Those who have first-hand knowledge of how a lawyer may operate their practice can provide great insight into how they may handle your case. If you already have a relationship with a lawyer who specializes in a different area, never hesitate to reach out to them and ask for a referral to another attorney who may be better equipped to handle your case.
Google is one of the greatest tools you can use when looking for an experienced criminal defense attorney. When searching for a lawyer, always be wary of clicking ads as opposed to organic search results. A lawyer can have negative reviews, but still show up first in Google results if they are paying for ads. Instead of only looking at a lawyer's website, also look at their Google profile which will show a 1-5 star rating based upon client reviews. Be sure to also heavily screen these reviews to make sure they are genuine and not written by the lawyer themself or staff of that firm. If a criminal defense attorney has both recent and positive reviews, they are likely a great choice. When reading reviews, be sure to look for keywords relating to responsiveness, helpfulness, and professionalism.
A great source outside of Google for finding a lawyer is Avvo. Avvo is the biggest marketplace online for legal services. Just like Google, you can also screen reviews of lawyers. You can also see questions the lawyer you're interested in hiring may have answered.
Gauge Their Enthusiasm
When looking for an experienced criminal defense or personal injury attorney, you'll want to gauge their enthusiasm. If you're consulting with an attorney and they do not seem eager to work on your behalf, they may not be a good choice. You want a criminal defense attorney who is going to get started on your case immediately and not one month from now. A lawyer should also be able to answer basic questions off the top of their head as well as ask you questions so they can have a basic understanding of your case.
What to Avoid When Looking for a Lawyer
Promises of free consultations. Criminal attorneys usually charge a flat fee based on the type of case you have, and they are not willing to give away much information for free. Most “free consultations” are just sales pitches that try to reel you in and get you to sign on the dotted line. Don’t let what you thought was a chance to gather information turn into a commitment to an attorney you don’t trust.
Scare tactics that rush your decision
Telling you that you have to act fast or that time is of the essence are tactics some attorneys use to get you to hire them before talking to other attorneys. In most cases, you have several weeks before you really need an attorney, and that is plenty of time to do your due diligence in finding the right attorney for you.
Claims of “connections”
Many criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors, and most are familiar with judges in their district. While some attorneys may make these claims to imply that they will be more successful with your case than another attorney, don’t buy it.
Large firms with high-profile names behind them often have dozens of associates and paralegals who actually do the work on a case. At some firms, you never see the same attorney twice, and you certainly never work with the guy you see on TV.
If you think we may be the right firm for your criminal defense or personal injury case, do not hesitate to call us right now at (561) 671-5995. You can also download my free guide 'Top 5 Things Most Criminal Defense Attorneys Don’t Want You to Know' by clicking here.