If you are in any sort of legal trouble, the last thing that you want to do is go through the legal process yourself. However, you don’t want to hire just anybody to represent you in court or in settlement talks. What are some variables that you should consider when choosing the person to serve as your advocate while your case unfolds?
What Type of Legal Expertise Does This Person Have?
If you are being charged with drug possession, you don’t want to hire an attorney who specializes in contract disputes. If you are charged with hitting someone with your vehicle, you don’t want someone who specializes in medical malpractice cases. While any attorney could theoretically defend you against any type of charge, you want someone who understands the nuance of the law that is most relevant to your case.
Can You Leverage That Specialized Experience?
For instance, a DUI lawyer has been in front of the same judge, argued against the same prosecutor and has dealt with many of the same police officers for many months or years regarding similar cases. Your attorney knows what the prosecutor may use against you, what the judge will accept in terms of introducing or excluding physical evidence or witness testimony and what police officers may be thinking when you get pulled over.
Therefore, he or she can take a look at the facts of the case and apply precedent to get a favorable ruling. While the facts in your case and any previous record that you have will factor into how your case is resolved, there is generally a set standard used based on past cases. For instance, your attorney will know that the last DUI case involving someone with no criminal record and no aggravating factors got probation, which means he or she will know to seek the same for you.
How Much Does an Attorney Cost?
Jacoby & Meyers said, “It is a misconception that everyone is entitled to a public defender in their case.” However, a public defender is only available if you cannot pay for an attorney on your own. In some cases, you will be required to hire an attorney before transitioning to a public defender when you can no longer afford him or her. However, attorneys may be flexible depending on the type of case you present. For example, DUI attorneys generally offer set fees to handle cases while personal injury attorneys generally only collect if they win your case.
Do You Go With a Big Firm or Small Firm?
A big firm may have more resources to help fight your case. Larger firms may also have high profile attorneys who are able to handle your case from start to finish. On the other hand, a large firm may simply hand your case to a junior associate who may or may not have the same skill set or ability that a partner may have. If you need personalized attention, you may be better off opting for the smaller firm.
However, the smaller firm may not have an attorney who is skilled enough or who cares enough about your case to get the outcome that you need. While you may pay less, you may also get less and work with someone who has fewer resources to successfully defend you against a criminal charge or help prove your case in civil court.
Ideally, you will spend time consulting with any attorney who you are interested in working with. Consultations may be free, and it is your chance to review pertinent information and make sure that you are ready to proceed to trial or settlement talks with your adversary. During your consultation, you can decide whether a given attorney meets your needs and is willing to handle the case personally if that is what you need.
Choosing an attorney is not something that you should do lightly. Make sure that you do your research into many attorneys, consult with your preferred choices before hiring anyone and make sure that you can afford his or her services. Taking the time to do so now increases the odds that your case is resolved in your favor or in a favorable manner.