How Do I Find A Good Attorney Right Away To Represent My Friend Or Family Member?
I’d start with Avvo.com. Type in the city and charge your loved one is facing. You’ll get a list of a bunch of lawyers. Start reading. Don’t just look at the ones who have Avvo ratings of 10/10. Avvo’s rating system is mysterious and Avvo won’t reveal to lawyers how it’s calculated. I know great lawyers who get great results for their clients who, for one mysterious reason or another, can’t get above a 9.5.
Check to see who has lots of good reviews and who specializes in the type of case your loved one is charged with. For example, if it’s a DWI, you want a lawyer who does mostly DWIs. If it’s a family assault case, you want a lawyer who handles mostly family assault cases. Check to see how recent the lawyer’s reviews are. Don’t be afraid if there’s one or two negative reviews among a bunch of positive reviews; even the best five-star restaurants get a one-star review from type to time from an unrealistic or crazy customer. Lawyers are no different.
Visit those lawyers’ websites. Read what they say about their experience. Read their case results and client reviews. Then start picking up the phone and calling them. Don’t hire the first person you talk to unless you’re absolutely sure this is the lawyer for your loved one. Talk with a few lawyers and hire the person you feel most comfortable with.
Don’t balk if the lawyer quotes you a fee that seems high. The best lawyers tend to charge the most. If it’s a serious felony case, be prepared to spend the same amount of money you’d spend to buy a new car. With most things in life, you get what you pay for, and that’s especially true with lawyers. It astounds me how many people want to spend the bare minimum on their lawyer when they could end up going to prison and have a felony on their record forever but won’t balk at spending the same amount of money for a car that they’ll need to sell in ten years anyway.
When you meet the lawyer, ask them what they’re likely to do on the case. Ask them if they’ll be the ones directly working on the case or if they’ll pass the case off to a different lawyer at their firm.
It’s OK to ask friends and family members for referrals but be very careful. The last person you’ll want to hire is your brother-in-law’s lawyer who helped him with his divorce ten years ago. Most people who’ve had to hire a lawyer have done so for a divorce. But just because someone’s a great family law attorney doesn’t mean that they’re competent to defend a criminal case.
If you do know someone who’s had to hire a criminal defense attorney, ask them what they thought about their lawyer. They may not have had the greatest experience. If they did, go ahead and talk to the lawyer but make sure to do your internet research too.
If the lawyer you’re researching doesn’t even have a website, that’s a bad sign. Any lawyer who cares about their practice should at the very least have a website.
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