Choosing the right lawyer can make or break the outcome of a trial if you’re facing serious criminal charges, in cases raging from a driving offenses to drugs to manslaughter and murder.
Here’s a list of a few things to consider when determining whether or not a lawyer is a good match. While the list below can serve as a jumping off point when searching for a good fit for your legal needs, it is not an exhaustive list — every case is different.
An important note: if you are unsure of whether or not a lawyer will fit the bill or what to look for period, don’t hesitate to get in touch and ask for help, especially if time is of the essence. Our office is here to lend a hand and keep you informed on how we can best be of assistance.
Choose A Lawyer Who Specializes In Criminal Defence
Lawyers specialize in a myriad of different practice areas. You want to ensure that the lawyer you retain for your legal defence in a criminal matter is a criminal defence lawyer. That seems simple enough, but it’s important to start your search off on the right foot.
Begin by searching for criminal defence lawyers in your area. You will find a whole slew of options, but don’t be overwhelmed.
Take the time to review a law firm’s website and understand the practice areas that their office specializes in, and verify that criminal defence is available area of focus. You will want to confirm that they provide services relevant to the charges you are facing. If you’re not sure, just give them a phone call.
Meet Potential Lawyers In Person
Taking the time to do your research and find the right lawyer is critical. You have Googled, you have made phone calls, you have gathered information. Now it’s time to meet your potential lawyer face to face and dive deeper.
Many criminal defence lawyers will meet with you and provide an initial consultation at no cost. Try to get a feel for whether or not they are actually interested in providing real help, or if they are merely giving you a sales pitch.
Ask tough questions. Tough questions should encourage a good lawyer think on their feet and draw on past experience to shape an informed perspective on your unique case. If you are unsure of what questions to ask, just start there: “what should I be asking you?” or “how should I proceed in this matter?” are fine places to start.
A face to face meeting should leave you feeling confident about your lawyer, but be wary of any guarantees. An experienced lawyer will not typically promise you a certain outcome, though they can go a long way of assuaging any overwhelming concerns.
Understand How Your Lawyer Communicates
A common complaint about less than stellar lawyers of all types is that they don’t return your calls. This can be a red flag, although you’ll want to make sure you understand how your lawyer typically communicates with clients and decide whether or not that suits your needs. Will you be satisfied with email communication? Do you want your lawyer to text you to get in touch? These are things to ask about and determine what works best for you.
Criminal law is a complex subject. Your lawyer’s job is to understand it and make sense of things on your behalf. If you are concerned about having a clear understanding of your case, make sure that your lawyer is prepared to speak to you in plain English about what is happening.
Communicate Your Budget & Your Financial Expectations
When it comes to your budget, retaining the services of a criminal defence lawyer is a balance between finding high-quality legal services and not breaking your bank. Setting a budget and communicating it to your potential lawyer will help guide you to understanding whether or not you can afford their services. Even if a lawyer is at the top of their game and therefore expensive does not mean their office cannot provide you with attainable legal solutions.
Retaining the services of a competent lawyer will usually be more cost effective than losing your case, and many lawyers will want to find a way to make things work within your budget. That can involve assigning a competent colleague or junior lawyer to your case, or adjusting the scope of their work to match your needs. You may find your lawyer and their office is more flexible than you would have thought to begin with.
Take a breath. Take your time. There is no reason to get ahead of yourself or panic.
By learning how to find the best criminal defence lawyer to suit your needs, you have already taken the first steps toward addressing any criminal charges in the most impactful and responsible way.
Finding the right lawyer for you can be a time consuming process that requires a lot of thoughtful and diligent research. Don’t be afraid to lean on prospective lawyers to lay out the groundwork for how they can best provide assistance. They’ll know the best way to move forward and start tackling your case.
If you have any questions about hiring a criminal defence lawyer or if you would like to get in touch with our office, please contact us.