There are more than a million lawyers operating in the US today, according to the latest statistics, and each one is specialized in their own particular fields of law. There are experts in employment law, for example, as well as family law, business law, environment law, civil rights law, and of course, criminal law.
It’s vital to ensure that you find the right lawyer to handle your case, and when you’re dealing with criminal charges, it’s essential to find a firm that has experience and expertise in the field of criminal law. But with so many different criminal defense lawyers out there, picking the firm to represent you can feel like quite a challenge.
This is where consultations come in. Consultations give you an opportunity to sit down with an attorney and ask them questions about who they are, what they do, what sort of experience they have, and what they can offer you if you choose to hire them. Consultations are immensely important when looking for a lawyer, but you have to use them wisely and ask the right questions.
Is Your Firm’s Focus Primarily on Criminal Law?
This is one of the simplest questions you can ask when speaking with a criminal defense attorney, but it’s an important one, as it’s vital to ascertain the level of expertise your chosen lawyer actually has in the criminal field.
Some firms might sell themselves as being focused on criminal defense but also handle an array of other cases in different fields of law, so they might not have that specialist expertise you need. Try to find a firm that focuses exclusively on criminal law.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
As well as learning about the firm or attorney’s areas of expertise, it’s also important to find out how much experience they have. There are many different lawyers out there; some have been in the business for decades, while others are just starting out.
It’s not always true that the older and more experienced lawyers are better, so you shouldn’t automatically ignore younger lawyers, but experience is still a valuable commodity in the legal world, and many people want to find a lawyer with a strong track record behind them.
How Much Are Your Fees?
Legal fees are something of a mystery to many people, and the truth is that fees can vary quite a lot from one firm to another, so you shouldn’t feel any worries about asking some questions about fees and costs.
Lawyers should be ready to answer this kind of question, and it’s always a warning sign if they fail to give you a straight answer. So make sure to demand to know their fees and understand exactly what you’ll be expecting to pay and how/when you’ll be expected to pay it too.
How Will We Communicate?
Different lawyers each have their own ways of working, and some can communicate in very different ways to one another. Some may be very communicative and keep you up to date on every little development of your case over-the-phone or via email, while others are more independent in their manner of working.
It’s important to ask this question so that you know what sort of lawyer you’re working with. Some people will want to find a lawyer who is open and approachable for communication, while others won’t mind letting their lawyer get on with the job and only update them regarding key events.
How Do You See the Case Progressing?
Ultimately, the main reason why you will be contacting a lawyer in the first place is probably because you’re facing legal charges and want to get through your case with the best possible outcome. In short, you want to win your case, or at least have the most lenient possible punishment.
There’s no harm, therefore, in asking your lawyer how they see the case progressing. During a typical consultation, lawyers will usually ask to know some of the details of your case, and while they won’t be able to predict the future or make an entirely accurate assessment right away, they should be able to give you an estimation or idea of their view on the case and your odds of success.
Finding the right lawyer might seem like quite a scary prospect when you first start out, but if you make use of consultations and ask the right questions, you can gather all the key information you need to make an informed decision and partner with the perfect firm.