(Guest post from a legal writer in the US with some tips for choosing counsel) Choosing counsel to provide advocacy for a criminal situation may seem as simple as opening the yellow pages and choosing from the hundreds of options, attorneys and firms available. But despite the misconception that all lawyers are eligible to practice in an array of legal areas, selecting counsel specifically experienced in a pinpointed type of matter can make or break a case.
Experience is Key
When selecting counsel, one of the most important considerations for potential clients to think about is the specific experience an attorney in relation to the client’s needs. Whether the legal aid desired involves a DWI, drugs or theft, some attorneys may have specialities within their criminal practice. The track record of an attorney in the concise legal matter in question is another important consideration that may reveal their experience, or lack thereof.
Make It Personal
When looking for counsel to represent regarding a serious matter that could have life-changing repercussions, blindly selecting from the phone book or television advertisement may not be enough. Instead, talking to friends and family who may have experience with an attorney or criminal law firm can offer revealing tips about the type of service, communication and results achieved by someone they know or have used in the past. Although considering the opinions of loved ones can help reveal a quality lawyer, take care to seek counsel that has experience in criminal law. Lawyers who specialize in personal injury or employment law may not be able to provide adequate representation when it comes to a criminal matter.
Many law firms offer free consultations, which can be a great chance for prospective clients to ask questions, compare services with other firms gain useful information. Making a list of prospective questions prior to meeting with criminal counsel can help organize one’s thoughts and provide a general method of comparing different offerings, methods, pricing and rates. In addition to getting basic answers about services and rates sitting down with an attorney can help reveal whether or not there is a personality connection or not.
Prior to even meeting with counsel, noting the important qualities sought can be helpful. To some clients, experience in a concentrated area may be more important to some prospective clients while a proven track record or personality traits and communication may be more important to others. Thinking about what is important in a specific circumstance can be helpful when considering whether an attorney is a good fit or not.
The Cheapest Option May Not Always Be The Best Option
While a public defender may be a good option for someone who cannot afford a criminal attorney, public counsel members often have a large case load and may even juggle public defense in addition to their own criminal practice. Seeking an attorney that has the time to put the effort into a case and has experience in the concentrated area of defense in question is imperative to quality communication that can provide clients the best possible advocacy.
Criminal matters can have life transforming repercussions for those who are involved, whether guilty or not. Hiring quality representation can mean the difference between fines and community service and jail time. With finances, relationships and future employment at stake, choosing counsel for a criminal matter is not the right time to scrimp, make a hasty, uninformed decision or seek out merely the cheapest representation.
About the author
Jonathan Hammerfield is a freelance writer who focuses on law, the justice system, rehabilitation strategies, legal reform, and other critically important areas. Selecting qualified personnel is especially important when trying to have your record expunged.