If you find yourself having some legal trouble, be they criminal or civil, it is vital that you learn how to find a good defense lawyer to fight your corner. According to Dan DeKoter, this means that you have to know what to ask, what to watch out for, and how much to pay. To help people who need the help of a defense lawyer, he has developed the following guidelines. He hopes that, should you ever find yourself in a legal pickle, having this knowledge to hand will ensure the case can get resolved as quickly as possible.
Dan DeKoter on Finding a Defense Lawyer
The first thing you are likely to consider is cost. The cost of an attorney varies greatly, so it is best to schedule a consultation first, which should be free. Most attorneys also take on at least some pro bono cases, and they may also have some discounted rates. However, most will charge you either a flat rate or an hourly rate, and most will also set a maximum fee. Sometimes, they will ask you to pay a retainer, which is particularly common if they also provide a maximum. No win no fee lawyers also exist.
Secondly, you want to look at the attorney’s specialization. Find out whether they have worked on similar cases in the past. Do also ask whether they will do the work themselves, or whether they have a team of paralegals and assistants who will do most of the research and preparation. Ask how you can reach them if you have an emergency and how often you will be kept up to date. Find out where your lawyer was educated and how they have kept their knowledge up to date.
There are a number of good places to find lawyers. Try, as much as possible, to avoid the large television advertisements. Usually, these ads are created no by law firms, but rather by referral services. This means that you don’t really know who will be dealing with your case. Furthermore, it makes it very difficult for you to complete your own research into your lawyer’s background. Lastly, these cases tend to get very little attention. The size of the ad does not reflect a lawyer’s skills. Rather, their own work does, which is why having that free consultation is so important. Do also consider how comfortable you feel with the attorney before deciding whether or not to sign up with them.
Having a consultation also does not mean you have to agree to accept the services of that particular attorney. If you do not like them, or if you find out after the consultation that the lawyer has particularly bad reviews on Avvo, for instance, you can simply go somewhere else. There is no limit to how many free consultations you can have, and you should use that to your advantage. At the end of the day, this professional will hold much of your future in their hands, so you have to be able to trust them.