Choosing A Lawyer

Choosing the right attorney is challenging enough given the vast number of lawyers out there, but in the midst of a personal crisis, the stress involved can make the task very difficult.

The Lawyer You DON'T Want!

When contacting a lawyer, ask plenty of questions. Here are red flags that can help you avoid the WRONG attorney:

  • No office, runs their practice out of a post office box with a cell phone: where will you meet this lawyer, where will you be dropping documents off? Can you trust that this business will still be there tomorrow?
  • No office staff: who will answer your emergency calls while the attorney is in court, meeting with another client, busy on a tight deadline he/she has to meet, or preparing for a hearing? What happens if the lawyer gets sick?
  • Claims to specialize in cases such as yours without proper certification: in Ohio, a lawyer has to be Board Certified in order to claim specialization. A claim without specialization is a violation of the rules of Professional Conduct set by the Ohio Supreme Court. If an attorney cannot respect an ethical rule, can you trust that he/she will be able to handle your case properly?
  • Office is in Cincinnati or some other distant locale: this happens when an attorney uses his/her name and reputation to advertise, and then puts you in the hands of a local attorney. It doesn't mean that the lawyer you will be referred to has the same expertise.
  • Lists a large variety of areas of the law as fields of practice: chances are that an attorney who practices in only a couple of areas of the law will know them in depth.
  • Just wants to plead you guilty without looking into possible defenses: your case might not be defendable, but a lawyer should look into all aspects of your case before making that assessment.
  • Unfamiliar with the court where your case is filed: knowing the in and outs of the local court system can make a big difference in your case. An attorney who knows how the judges, magistrates, mediators, prosecutors and the members of the local law enforcement operate, their strength and weaknesses, will have better chances to get the best outcome for your case. You can identify such an attorney through their physical address.
  • Relative or friend with little or no criminal trial experience: would you take your child to a veterinarian just because he/she is a friend, or to a pediatrician?
  • Guarantees a specific result: this is against the rules of Professional Conduct set the but Ohio Supreme Court.

An Experienced Criminal And DUI Defense Lawyer - A Strong Divorce Relations Lawyer - A Knowledgeable Estate Planning Lawyer

Depending on your financial circumstances, you may qualify for the service of a public defender for a criminal charge or a local legal aid agency for other issues, or you can choose to find independent counsel to help you with your case. In situations involving minor criminal charges with no risk, or very simple civil or domestic relations matters, you may also choose to represent yourself. 

Once you decide to retain an attorney though, you want the best that you can afford. When facing serious criminal accusations or when your future and the future of the well-being of your children is at stake, you don't necessarily want to make your choice based solely on cost.

Whether you have to dig into savings, scrimp or borrow, it is advantageous to hire the best attorney you can find, especially when you will be up against the overwhelming power and resources of the prosecution, or those of the opposing party.

Avoid decisions made solely on price-shopping... Experience and results matter the most, not price. In divorce and custody matters, strength, personal attention to your case and availability are a must.

Select The Best Lawyer For You

When it comes to chosing a lawyers, you want the perfect one for your case, so check out at least a few before deciding.

First off, look for signs of a welcoming, experienced and knowledgeable law office staff, ready and willing to answer your basic questions and deal with your concerns.

Next, as you continue your search, look for an attorney who practices in the court where you were charged or where your family or estate planning issues will be handled, even if that is not necessarily the area where you live. This assures you that your attorney is familiar with the court system and the courthouse where your case will be determined. When your lawyer knows the clerks, judges, prosecutors and local procedures for the specific courthouse, he is more likely to know how and when to approach them to get the best results. It's like a home field advantage.

Beware Of Pitfalls When Choosing An Attorney

Lawyers know that you are stressed out and confused, and some may try to take advantage of your situation.

Some will promise you particular results such as dismissals or certain resolutions in order to get you to hire them... even before examining the circumstances of your case. Beware - no attorney can promise such results. The outcomes of your case can be very difficult to predict at the onset. The only thing an ethical, honest attorney can promise you is that he or she will work hard, and do whatever it takes to help you. He/she can also assure you to have experience with cases similar to yours.

Also beware of the price trap. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. Cheaper doesn't always mean you're getting a great deal.

If the attorney's fee is too low, you can count on the fact that the lawyer is going to be cutting corners somehow: not putting the work in on your case, not giving you personal service, lacking in experience, no proper support staff, etc...

If the retainer fee is very high, it may be a result of the lawyer's location (big city) or overhead costs. Does it mean that the lawyer is qualified? Does this attorney have the reputation and experience to command such a fee?

Trust And Confidence Are Vital

Your search for the right lawyer should give you a good feel about whether you would be comfortable with a particular attorney. After all, you will have to tell your attorney some very personal, detailed and perhaps embarrassing information (depending on the nature of your criminal case). If you don't feel comfortable with the attorney, you're less likely to communicate with them. Communication is critical to any good attorney/client relationship.

In the end, go with your gut. You need to feel that you can trust your lawyer. He will be the one you explain all the details of your case to, and he will be the one helping you make critical decisions. You will be paying for the lawyer's advice and expertise.

If you don't feel confident and at ease with your attorney, you are going to struggle throughout the process. So, if everything else lines up and points to the lawyer as highly skilled and knowledgeable in the area of law you need, trust your instincts as you make the final choice.

You will most likely know right away when you find the right attorney, as these selection criteria should make it obvious to you.

Finally, you can go to the Ohio Supreme Court's website and click on "Attorney Information" to see the basic info on any Ohio lawyer. This includes the attorney's full legal name, law office address, law office phone number, date of admission to practice law, disciplinary history and law school.

"I get calls on a regular basis from people looking to switch attorneys because they found out that their lawyer is clueless, inexperienced, timid or has already botched their case. I keep my fingers crossed that I will not discover that it it's too late to help them out!" - Attorney Dan Weisenburger

Disclaimer

The ohiocrimelawyer.com website is designed for general information only. Any information on this site is not to be construed as formal legal advice on criminal or DUI defense, nor formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Persons accessing this site are encouraged to seek personal advice regarding their individual legal issues.