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- by Stephen Gustitis
Choosing a criminal lawyer for your charges can be a daunting task. Most people who find themselves in search of a criminal defense attorney are not accustomed to dealing with the law and, therefore, often don’t know what to look for or what to expect from a lawyer. Many people begin their search with a negative view of defense lawyers. However, the best lawyers are honest and hardworking individuals who treat their clients as people and represent them to the best of their ability. But how does one know what to look for when choosing an attorney? There are several factors to take into account when entering the market for an attorney, including reputation and experience, but it’s also important you hire someone you trust.
First, be sure that your attorney has enough experience to represent you competently. The best indicator of a successful attorney is how much experience they have in cases similar to yours. Sometimes, a young lawyer with little or no trial experience will be less capable than one with twenty years of experience, but not always. Many people will hire less experienced lawyers because they are usually cheaper, but don’t forget that by trying to save money on a lawyer you could be making a very costly decision in the long run. Experienced attorneys are less likely to make mistakes and will be better at presenting your case – qualities that will save you money or even jail time. The amount of experience an attorney has is easy to determine and could be a huge indicator of whether you want to hire that person.
Second, be sure to determine the reputation of your attorney. There are websites where people give reviews of their legal counsel and this information can be invaluable when choosing an attorney. Also, if you know anyone in the legal business, see if they can tell you anything about the lawyers you’re considering. Attorneys with good reputations have earned their status and are likely to be what you’re looking for. Furthermore, an attorney who’s been in the business for a long time and has a good reputation will make you look good in court.
Finally, the most important tool available in choosing an attorney is a face-to-face meeting. In today’s Internet world, face-to-face meetings are often overlooked. Some people will choose to save time by calling different offices and talking to multiple lawyers without ever meeting in person with them. While this tactic is good for shopping around, phone conversations do very little to tell you about the character and reliability of your lawyer. Most criminal attorneys offer free personal consultations and will be glad to sit down and discuss your case at no charge. Hiring an attorney can be an uncomfortable and nerve-racking experience, but the right attorney should make you feel comfortable in their office – giving you confidence to move forward with your case.
Check out other articles of interest here. Also, visit my Bryan|College Station Criminal Defense Blog for other posts about criminal defense and trial advocacy.