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Choosing the right lawyer can be the difference between winning and losing a trial. In a criminal defense case, this can often be equated to the difference between life and death.
When the clock is ticking, taking the time to find the right defense attorney can feel like a daunting task. But here are seven traits of a good criminal defense lawyer to help you make the right choice for your trial.
Check out the Traits Below
They Have a Niche Specialty
When looking for a skilled attorney, it’s better to work with a specialist than a generalist. There are endless crimes that get committed every day, each with their own nuances and whims. Having an attorney that specializes in your particular type of case is a must.
For example, you would want a skilled and experienced drug crimes lawyer to fight a possession charge, not someone who tends to deal with white-collar crimes. Attorneys who take the time to specialize have deeper insights into a particular type of legal proceedings, which can improve your chances of success.
They are Great Communicators
Beware of lawyers who only contact you when it’s time to pay a bill. A great defense attorney will be readily available to take your call. Keep in mind that they’ll have other clients, but they should generally return your call within 24 hours.
A good defense attorney will be willing and able to answer your questions and take the time to provide updates on your case. Remember that their ability to listen and be attentive is also a part of communication skills – not just talking.
They Have Years of Proven Experience
There’s nothing wrong with working with a young lawyer, especially at a prestigious firm. However, it’s best to have someone who has years of proven experience taking the lead on your case.
This proven experience shouldn’t just be in their niche, but also in their local jurisdiction. The more experience they have, the better they know the people you’ll run into during your trial, including judges and other lawyers. More community-based knowledge means a better ability to adapt to your specific case.
They Are Upfront About Costs and Commitments
Beware of attorneys that aren’t clear about the costs from the beginning – during your consultation. A reliable and trustworthy lawyer is more than happy to tell you what to expect in terms of total cost and present you with various payment options. Lawyers who aren’t upfront about the cost will often surprise you with an over-priced bill later.
Similarly, look out for lawyers who seem far too cheap. This usually indicates a lack of relevant experience or other underlying issues.
They’re Honest About Your Case
A skilled attorney will be positive, but realistic. Even in seemingly clear-cut cases, there is always a chance that something could go wrong. No skilled lawyer will give you a guarantee that things will go your way. On the flip side, watch out for lawyers who push you into a plea right away.
They Have Social Proof
We live in a digital age, where it is easier than ever to verify someone’s claims. Take some time to research your attorney online. Look for positive reviews and testimonials from previous clients with similar cases as yours. Reach out to the local Chamber of Commerce, the state bar, and the Better Business Bureau for another perspective. Finally, search news stories to see if your attorney is mentioned in any high-profile cases.
They Have a Happy Team and Office Environment
Finally, you can tell a lot about your lawyer by the surroundings they work in. A lawyer with a nice, clean office and a team that seems engaged and determined is a great sign that you’ve hired the right attorney.
Use these metrics to help you find the right lawyer to defend you in your case.