If you are reading this, there's a high likelihood that you, a friend, or a family member has recently experienced a run in with the law that requires legal representation. Assuming this is the case, you've surely been inundated with letters from attorneys soliciting your business and offering to represent you.
So what's the best way to chose an attorney? After all, they all seem qualified, right?
First, let me start off by telling you that there are plenty of talented criminal defense attorneys. With that said, attorneys come in all shapes and sizes. In other words, one size does NOT fit all. Just because Attorney A was a great attorney for Person X, does not mean that Attorney A will be a great attorney for Person Y. People have different personalities, and therefore, different needs.
When you hire an attorney, part of what you are paying for, whether you realize it or not, is peace of mind. I often tell people that sit down for a consultation with me that if I don't make them feel instantenously better about their situation, I am not the right attorney for them. I firmly believe this to be the case. Therefore, a very important consideration in determining which attorney to hire is whether you feel compatible with the attorney. Are you comfortable with his style? Did he win you over? If you feel "ok" about the attorney, guess what? That's not your attorney.
One great way to narrow your pool of candidates when it comes to attorneys is by referral. If a trusted family member or friend refers an attorney to you, look into them first. Be sure to ask the referring person how they know of the attorney. If they have worked with them in the past, the referral is much stronger than if they merely "heard of them" through other marketing venues.
Once you identify the pool of possible attorneys, it is very important that you research the attorneys online. In today's world, I'm suspicious of an attorney who does not have an established online presence. The reality is that if the attorney is not online, he is not marketing himself effectively. If he is not marketing himself effectively, how can you expect him to market you effectively in court? Criminal defense attorneys have to be crafty and resourceful. The chips are already stacked against us. If your attorney doesn't have web presence, including online reviews, he's not being crafty and resourceful, and as a result, it'd be very careful. Again, if he can't effectively market and represent himself, how can you expect him to do so for you?