I'm often asked by people how does one choose a good criminal lawyer? I've comprised a list that I think would be helpful for one to consider:
1. Does the attorney specialize in criminal defense? That is, does the lawyer have a "general practice" whereby he/she accepts a variety of different matters, from family law to personal injury, or does he/she accept only criminal-related cases. In my experience it's very difficult to be competent in more than one field of law. It's much more likely that if someone handles criminal matters exclusively they'll be more knowledgeable and experienced in that area.
--I've handled criminal matters exclusively for over 25 years.
2. How long has the attorney been practicing criminal defense? In general, one gets better the more knowledge and experience one has acquired. There's simply no substitute for experience. Someone with less than five years experience is most likely still "learning the ropes" and is not always prepared to handle a more unusual or difficult case.
--I've handled criminal matters for nearly 30 years.
3. Is the attorney familiar with the court system that's hearing your case? It's not unusual that some lawyers will appear on cases even when they're not familiar with the local court customs or personalities. I always recommend that one should consider hiring a local lawyer first before choosing someone "out-of-county."
--I have been based in the South Bay for over 25 years.
4. Will the attorney I retained personally handle my case? Often times firms with two or more lawyers will refer your matter to someone else within the office. Consequently, the lawyer actually handling your case may not be as familiar with the details as he/she should be, and he may not have the same level of expertise as the lawyer you originally retained.
--I am a solo-practitioner and personally handle all of my cases.
5. How accessible is the attorney? The most common complaint levied against an attorney is poor communication. Many attorneys avoid personal contact with their clients, or are very poor in returning calls.
--I provide all my clients with my direct 24/7 cell phone line and if I do not pick up your call immediately I invariably return all calls within 24 hours - if not much sooner.
6. What if the attorney "guarantees" an outcome or promises a "dismissal"? Regardless of one's level of experience or skill as an attorney, no one can guarantee an outcome. Beware of anyone making such promises.
-- The only promise I can make is that I will apply all of my nearly 30 years of legal skill, knowledge and experience when handling your case.
Feel free to contact my office today if you or someone you know has been arrested for any criminal matter.