Finding the Right Lawyer
Finding the top lawyer who will best serve your needs is an important task. Just because someone hangs a license on the wall to practice law, they may not necessarily be the best attorney for matters that apply to you. It is well worth your time to do some investigation before you select a lawyer to represent your interests.
Areas of Focus
Make sure the lawyer you hire is the lawyer you need. In other words, if you need a criminal defense lawyer, don't hire an estate lawyer, even if he is an old family friend. Same thing is true the other way around. Don't hire a criminal defense lawyer to set up your trusts. You want to make sure you have the right specialist to meet your needs. Tort law is far different from property law. Make sure your lawyer regularly practices the kind of law you need. DUI is a very specialized area of the law. Make sure you hire an attorney who regularly practices drunk driving defense law.
How many trials have they had? Have they even won a jury trial? How many clients with cases like yours have they represented? How many motions have they filed and argued dealing with issues like yours? Have they ever appealed decisions to higher courts? You want a DUI defense lawyer who has been regularly dealing with issues like yours for years. If you need a DUI lawyer, does your potential attorney have experience in chemical testing in order to understand blood tests and breath tests determining BAC? Has your potential attorney subpoenaed records from KBI?
Be Cautious of Phonebook Advertising
Don't pick a lawyer based on a television or phonebook ad. While a random choices from the phonebook might lead you to a good lawyer, leaving your situation to chance is not wise. Purposefully searching for and finding a good lawyer that is experienced in your area of legal need is crucial.
As with any business, word of mouth is the best advertising. It is also the best way for you to find out who has done well or poorly for people whose judgment you value. Granted. this can be tough, especially for the legal field. Due to attorney/client privileges and confidentiality, as well as the understandable privacy interests in legal matters, many of the best legal jobs and relationships are never spoken of. But, references is a place to at least think about.
Using Google and other Search Engines
Even with all the potential resources out there, you may get stuck when it comes to finding the right lawyer for your needs. Here's where the Internet is invaluable. Search engines can be utilized to find lawyers in your area who focus on your area. This can be a springboard for your research to find the best lawyer for your specific case.
Don't Make a Decision Based on Price
Just because the lawyer is cheap, doesn't make him or her the right lawyer for you. Just because the lawyer is more expensive doesn't mean she or he is better. The more experienced, but fair lawyer is what you want.
Your lawyer needs to be focused on your case and have the time to truly address your specific needs. If they have a large case load, meaning they have tons of cases, then they are obviously extremely busy and less likely to focus on your needs. If their prices are super low, it could very well be that they are offsetting that with a large caseload. You don't want to be just a number. You want a lawyer who really is enthusiastic about researching all your issues, fully analyzing your case, and formulating a strategy to defend you.
If your attorney doesn't have help, that means they are handling all the remedial issues for every case. How can they then remain focused on the legal and strategic issues? When you meet the lawyer, did they have somebody out front to assist you? When you call in, did they have someone answer the phone? Obviously, you have to be careful when making these observations. Sometimes the legal assistant may simply be stepping outside for a break. Additionally, you may be calling the lawyer's cell phone and thereby skipping their legal assistant.
At our law firm, our staff is very helpful and skilled. While Jerry Wallentine handles all the legal and strategic issues, his administrative help handles much of the basic things such as ordering discovery, openning the file, and entering a general entry of appearances. This frees Jerry up to focus specifically on the legal issues in each case.
Make sure your attorney has a network of experts to consult with. Has your potential criminal defense lawyer ever hired an expert toxicologist? Has you potential lawyer hired an expert on SFST? Is your potential lawyer a member of the KACDL, Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers?
Has your potential DUI lawyer trained extensively in defending against driving under the influence charges? Not only has Jerry trained as a trial lawyer, but he has trained specifically in DUI defense. For example, he has taken the NHTSA classes for administering the field sobriety tests. In other words, he likely knows more about conducting a correct DUI investigation than the law enforcement officer who arrested you. Furthermore, he has the NHTSA manuals, past and present.