Over the years I’ve learned that there is more to selecting an attorney than picking one out online or in the phone book. They say hindsight is 50/50. Well, that is so true.
When selecting an attorney, one should do a thorough research of the attorney. They should find out how many cases the attorney did that is similar to their case. The attorney should have handle previous similar cases. One should fine out how many cases the attorney has won. One should also find out how many cases the attorney withdrew from. One should find out who would be doing the work on your case. Many attorneys have their paralegals or junior attorneys handle their legal work, motions, briefs and research. This is sometimes not good.
Most importantly, one should also find out what kind of relationship they have with the judge and prosecutor, along with what type of relationship they may or may not have with their previous attorney(if applicable).
These are important things to know. A competent, respected attorney can make all the difference in the world. I should know. I did not pick one.
I chose our last attorney from an online site. I chose him because he was from New York. As I am also a New Yorker living in the south, I thought that there would be a meeting of the mind, a type of camaraderie. The online site also said that he practiced 100% criminal defense. I thought that this meant that he had excellent knowledge of the criminal system. Unfortunately, I did not learn until it was too late that the chosen attorney was inept at his job.
The following is taken from attorney.com:
When you first meet with a criminal lawyer, its important to learn whether he or she has experience handling cases similar to yours. Consider asking:
•How long have you been a lawyer?
•From what law school did you graduate?
•Do you belong to any bar associations or other professional organizations? If so, which ones?
•Have you always been a criminal defense lawyer?
•How familiar are you with the charges Im facing? What percentage of your clients face similar charges?
•How often do you appear at the courthouse where my case will be heard?
•How would you describe your relationship with the prosecutors office?
•How often do you work out plea agreements?
•How often do you take your cases to trial?
Assessment of Your Case
Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you want the attorneys you meet with to explore your various options. You don’t want any surprises. Ask such questions as:
•What happens if I plead guilty?
•Can I agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge?
•Should I go to trial?
•Which facts of my predicament work in my favor?
•Which work against me?
•What strategy would you propose for handling my case?
•Can you walk me through the process and tell me what to expect at each step, from arraignment to trial?
If I could turn back the clock, I would have done a thorough investigation of the attorney. I would have.. I would have.. I would have…