For many people in need of an attorney, they are hiring an attorney for the first time. This is especially true for those who need a criminal defense attorney. You may be wondering what questions to ask potential attorneys or where to even begin looking for information. While this is not a complete list, these things should provide you with a good starting point in your attorney search.
The reason you hire an attorney is because you are dealing with a situation that you do not have the knowledge or expertise to handle on your own. As a result, you probably have many questions that you want answered by your attorney. When these questions come up, you deserve to have them answered quickly. For this reason, you will want to be sure that the attorney you choose is not only quick to respond to messages and emails, but is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If an attorney does not do these things, they may not a good fit for you.
You may have heard the common expression “Jack of all trades, master of none” before, but this is not what you want in your criminal defense attorney. Criminal law is different from civil law, both substantively and procedurally. Additionally, the stakes can often be much higher when dealing with a criminal case than they may be in a civil matter. You want to make sure that the attorney you hire has expertise in criminal law. A lawyer who claims to practice in all practice areas is likely not an expert in any of them. Be sure to find an attorney who specializes in criminal defense work to be certain you are giving yourself the best chance to be successful with your case.
There are many places on the internet to find reviews of lawyers and law firms, including FindLaw, Justia, and Google. You should also check the reviews and testimonials on the attorney or law firm’s website. These resources will provide you with information from others who have hired the attorney and firm and can inform your decision-making process.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when hiring an attorney is comfort. That is, do you feel comfortable working with this person. If not, you are likely going to be unhappy no matter the result of your case. For this reason, it is important to make sure you hire someone that you can work with comfortably. Being charged with a crime is never going to be an enjoyable situation, but the attorney you hire should do everything they can to ease the burden on you and alleviate stress as much as possible. This can be done by making sure that you are informed about the court process, the evidence in your case, the next steps in your case, and the possible outcomes. If you do not feel comfortable with an attorney, keep looking until you find someone you are comfortable with. It may be the most important decision you make.
One of the number one complaints clients have is that they believed they would be working with a particular attorney and later found out that their case was passed to an associate, paralegal, or legal assistant. Larger firms employ more people and often engage in this practice. In fact, in some of the larger firms, your case may simply be reduced to a client number and the people working on it may not even know who you are. In a smaller firm, you will have the opportunity to get to know the attorney who will be handling your case and can be assured that it will not be passed to other associates because smaller firms simply do not employ enough people to have attorneys farming out their cases. For many, especially in criminal cases, a small firm approach fits their needs best and will result in higher levels of satisfaction when all is said and done.
Lawyers approach cases in different ways. Some are looking to resolve cases as quickly as possible so that they can move on to the next client. Others may be using a case to experiment and test their own skills as an attorney. For most people, these approaches are not helpful to their situation. This is especially true in criminal defense cases. You want to find an attorney whose goal is to get you the best possible result. This means pursuing dismissal or reduction of the charges, negotiation of the consequences, and pursuing a not guilty verdict at trial. If your attorney’s approach does not involve those objectives, you should look elsewhere.
The most common questions attorneys are asked involve their fees. This makes sense because whenever you are paying for a good or service, you want to make sure you are getting good value and can afford it. The first step is to find an attorney who offers a free case consultation. After all, who wants to pay just to speak to someone when it may turn out they cannot even work with them. During your free consultation, you will be able to learn everything you need to know about your prospective attorney and can work out a fee arrangement that will work. Some attorneys charge an hourly rate while others charge flat or fixed fees for the whole case. Some attorneys are cheaper, and others are more expensive for several reasons. You should not let price be the determining factor in your decision because this may be the most important decision you make.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, the team at the BK Law Group can provide you with the responsive, zealous, and effective representation you need. If you have questions about your criminal case, contact the BK Law Group today for a free case consultation.