Being in the market for a criminal attorney probably doesn’t mark the high point of your life up until now. Nevertheless, even though you may be stressed and worried about your future, you need to take the time to do a good job on the task ahead. Finding a good lawyer could be the difference between your freedom and a long stay in one of your state’s fine prisons. There are two sides to every story. In order to make sure your side gets equal time with the prosecution’s side, you’ll need an advocate who can represent you to the best of their abilities. And if you take some time when it comes to your search, you can find one whose abilities are vast indeed.
One of the first points you should look at when hiring a criminal attorney is their educational background. Obviously, all lawyers have been to law school, so that isn’t what you should be looking for. Make sure that their law school is somewhat reputable, i.e., they don’t have some shady degree from one of the internet’s prestigious degree mills. Your lawyer doesn’t need to have graduated from Harvard, but it would be nice if they went to a respected university.
More important than where they went to school, however, is what kind of real world experience they have trying cases like yours. Even if a criminal attorney went to the finest law school in the country, you don’t want them on your case if they graduated last May. That’s nothing against fresh graduates, but you want someone who has been through the trenches when you’re dealing with a particularly important trial. Preferably, you want one who practices law in your area and is familiar with the judges and prosecutors. In other words, someone who knows how the game is played.
As you meet with a criminal attorney, don’t be intimidated. This is an interview for the purposes of deciding whether or not you want to hire them. Yes, they will be evaluating your case to determine whether or not they want to take it on, but this isn’t like getting a literary agent. He’s there to impress you, not the other way around. If you don’t like what you see then don’t be afraid to dismiss him and keep looking. A good lawyer should be ready to jump in, be your biggest fan, and fight for you in a court of law. If you don’t get this sense from a lawyer you’re interviewing, don’t hesitate to look elsewhere.