When you ask yourself "Do I need a lawyer?", the answer is almost always going to be yes. The legal system is complicated and can be difficult to navigate if you aren't a professional.
One situation where you're always going to want representation are criminal cases. If you or a loved one is accused of a crime, you'll want a lawyer.
Finding a top criminal defense lawyer can seem like a daunting task, but it's easy when you know what to look for.
If you're ready to find the best criminal defense lawyer for your needs, you've come to the right place. Read on so you can learn what you need to make an informed decision.
Finding a Top Criminal Defense Lawyer: 5 Simple Tips
There are a lot of lawyers you can choose from when you're looking for representation. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice!
It's important to note that price may be a major factor for you, but it shouldn't be the deciding factor. An inexpensive lawyer isn't necessarily bad, and an expensive one doesn't guarantee a win on your side.
With that in mind, make sure you follow these 5 important tips when you're searching.
1. Don't Neglect Your Personal Needs
Choosing a good criminal defense lawyer isn't all about case wins and price. If you want to find the best criminal defense lawyer possible think about your personal needs.
Do you have limited access to transportation? It's okay to try to look for a lawyer that's close to home or to look for someone that's easily accessible from public transit lines.
Do you speak a different language other than English? Are you uncomfortable with the idea of working through an interpreter? Then find a lawyer that's bi-lingual and you can easily converse with.
It's also okay to take personal feelings into account. You're going to spend a lot of time with this lawyer and could be revealing a considerable amount of personal information to people.
Think about how friendly they are with you and if you feel comfortable talking to them. You don't have to find someone you think is best friend material, but you should have a reasonable level of comfort with them.
2. Consider Specialties
If you want to get an idea of the different kinds of legal niches lawyers have, you can read more here. As you can see, there's a lot of specialization in the law field.
It's important to note that you're not going to want just any lawyer to help you with your case. Some people make the mistake of looking for any lawyer they can find and not taking their expertise into account.
At the very least you're going to want a lawyer that specializes in criminal defense, don't get help from a lawyer that doesn't understand the criminal justice system. You wouldn't want an expert in family law working on a criminal case.
A good criminal defense lawyer can help your case, but you may want to consider going with someone that has a niche within criminal law.
Are you looking for a lawyer for someone under the age of 18? Take time to see if you can find someone that specializes in juvenile justice.
Are you facing charges for money laundering or a financial crime? Look for someone that specializes in white-collar crime.
Going with someone that has intimate expertise in the charges you're facing could help you in the long run. They'll be able to better navigate the system and help with specific questions and concerns.
3. Look at Their Team
When you find a lawyer, you aren't just choosing to work with them. You don't just hire one lawyer, you're essentially hiring their entire practice to work for you.
Their administrative staff is going to be responsible for scheduling your appointments and making sure that you receive paperwork on time. If they aren't doing their job well, you could suffer the consequences.
Their paralegals will be doing a lot of research to help your case. Paralegals that are sloppy or not careful about their work could cause problems with your case.
It's also possible that a different lawyer at the firm could end up doing work on your case. You never know, your original lawyer could get sick or bogged down with other work.
This is why it's important to not just focus on the lawyer themselves. You need to focus on the people that surround them because they're going to play an important role in your case.
Feel free to ask about the credentials of the other staff. Learn about their job experience and how much training they have.
Also, don't be afraid to ask to see the office. You can learn a lot about employees by seeing how they act in their job environment.
Take note of how they treat you. Did people seem warm and friendly when you arrived, or where they rushed and rude?
4. Go Local
You may be tempted to work with someone a bit far away because of their qualifications or pricing. It's good to keep your options open, but people looking for criminal defense help should try to find a local lawyer.
Local lawyers tend to have connections and relationships in local court systems. Knowing which judge tends to be tougher on crime and which courts have long delays can be very beneficial for your case.
It's also important to note that local laws can vary a lot depending on where you are. We just aren't talking about differences from state to state. Different counties and even towns can have very different ways of dealing with crimes.
That background knowledge about specific laws about your jurisdiction can come in very handy.
5. Look for Reviews
Reviews from past clients can tell you a lot about what you can expect from your attorney. When you're trying to find a criminal lawyer be sure to pay special attention to what other people have to say about them.
Any good attorney would have a few chosen testimonials from clients that show their expertise. Don't be afraid to ask for some of them so you can make your decision.
Also, be sure to pay attention to reviews on other websites. There's a lot of that can be learned from reviews posted on Avvo, Yelp, and Google.
When you're reading reviews, don't just pay attention to whether or not the attorney was able to win someone's case.
Criminal case outcomes can vary for a variety of reasons. There are too many variables that could make some cases an easy win and others nearly impossible.
Instead of looking at wins, pay attention to how they were treated. See if they felt like their cases mattered to the lawyer and if they got the attention they needed. Also, be sure to look for insight into the staff and how the firm operates.
Learn More About the Law
Finding a top criminal defense lawyer isn't difficult when you go in with the right information. When you pay attention to their staff, expertise, and past clients, your decision becomes a lot easier.
Did you enjoy learning a bit about lawyers? You may be interested in learning more about the profession from an actual practicing lawyer.
Check out the Lawyerist for blog posts and podcasts about the ins and outs of being a lawyer.