When choosing the
best attorney for you or your loved one, there are a number of mistakes that you can avoid making
by having the proper guidance. This blog is designed to help you make
an educated decision about which attorney is right for your case.
The first consideration is whether you want, and can afford, to hire an
attorney. Often times, if you are eligible for incarceration and your
income falls below a certain threshold, the Court may appoint a public
defender to support you. There are times when continuing with the public
defender may be right for you, such as when you cannot afford to hire
an attorney of your choosing or if you are comfortable with the defender.
Some attorneys work part-time as public defenders as a service to the
community or until they can build their private practice up. There are
some reliable public defenders who have experience with the judges and
the prosecutors, and will aggressively fight for you; however, you must
remember that sometimes the public defender may be overburdened with a
large number of cases. He or she may not return your phone calls in a
time frame that you think is appropriate or makes you feel comfortable.
In fact, your public defender may not even have time to meet with you at all,
until your court appearances. After all, public defenders can have hundreds
of cases, in addition to any private cases to attend to as well. Many
of these may even occur on the same day. There are only so many hours
in the day that a public defender can give attention to your case.
Once you determine that you can afford to hire a private attorney, make
sure to research the attorney. There are a number of websites such as
avvo.com, where you can find out the attorneys ethics and experience levels,
especially in Peoria County. Do not be fooled by someone who says they
are a trial attorney. Research the area newspapers to see how many major
cases the attorney has actually taken to trial or successfully won. The
name of the game is RESULTS. You want the best lawyer you can afford.
Once you find the prospective attorney's experience, visit his or her
office. Observe if his staff cordial and professional. Take note of how
he keeps his files. You don't want to hire the attorney whose offices
are unorganized and outdated, because that is probably how he will treat
your case. There are attorneys who use iPads and there are attorneys who
feel more comfortable with a typewriter. The best attorneys look for angles,
take advantage of modern day technology, and structure their office well.
If you're looking for an attorney like Perry Mason, that will probably
not serve you well either. Each case must be treated differently. You
don't want your jury to hear the same cut and paste Perry Mason argument.
While there is no such thing as someone looks like an attorney, there
are both advantages and disadvantages to age. The advantage of a young
attorney may be that attorney is ambitious, and ready to passionately
defend you, but they may not have much courtroom experience. The advantage
of an older attorney is that the older attorney may have more experience,
yet they may fail to be energetic about your case. One must evaluate the
advantages and disadvantages of age very carefully.
Additionally, you want to see which attorney instills the most confidence.
Does he look prepared? Is he sleek or are his clothes wrinkled or disheveled.
I have heard clients in Peoria and Tazewell County remark that attorneys
do not take care of themselves physically will not take care of their
cases either. Ask what the attorney's game plan is for your particular
case? Make sure he can tell you the last times he had a jury trial. Again,
you don't want to hire a trial lawyer who refuses to go to trial.
Surely, not every case is one that is appropriate to advocate before a
jury, but odds are a successful attorney who fights is at a minimum trying
a few a year.
Finally, you want to determine how appropriate his fees are. An attorney
can charge based on his skill level and the work he anticipates will be
needed in your case. You want to hire the best lawyer you can afford and
who makes you feel the most comfortable. They should be able to counsel
you and be knowledgeable of the law.
Call my office if you have any further questions about how to get the best attorney.
I am a Peoria criminal defense attorney with over a decade in experience.
Get in touch with my office for your
free case evaluation.