Experience, experience, experience. Criminal defense lawyers need to know the law. They also need to know the nuts and bolts of court proceedings. You can study law all day long, spend time with professional organizations and spend lots of time on perfecting your internet image. But, at the end of the day, the greatest protection you have comes from the U.S. and State Constitutions. You are presumed innocent, and in every criminal case the government must prove an accused person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of their peers. Don't take that lightly. Attorneys can claim to be aggressive and experienced with wonderful web sites, but that doesn't mean that they have the ultimate weapon: Great trial skills.
People sometimes describe good criminal trial lawyers as "hired guns." If that is true, then a trial is the show down at the OK Corral. Would you want a lawyer sitting next to you in trial who had never been in a gun fight before?EDUCATION
It is true that a world class education is worthless without great experience, practical common sense and an ability to put all of those attributes into action effectively to help clients. But, a world class education doesn’t hurt either. Think of education as the foundation of a house. You can have all the fancy wooden floors and expensive appliances in the world, but if the foundation is weak the rest of the structure is just for show. A solid legal education is the foundation for a solid legal career. Without that foundation, the structure just won’t hold up when you need it to.
Stanford and Gonzaga are world class law schools. Craig Platt and Mimi Buescher both have the rock solid foundation it takes to be a great lawyer. But, that type of education, when combined with their extensive experience, outstanding successes in the courtroom, and reasonable fees is the full package you will need to get you through difficult times.COST
The next issue is cost. The old saying is true: You get what you pay for. Realize that the lawyer's fee pays for office expenses, all overhead and staff salaries. But don't confuse a large fee with a large amount of relevant experience. You will encounter young attorneys with absolutely NO felony experience charge exorbitant fees simply to make prospective clients think they are the best. Inexperienced attorneys may even brag that they charge high fees because people think that “you get what you pay for” translates into “if you pay a lot they must be the best.” Not true. Ask the above questions, and you will get the true story.CLIENT SUPPORT
Experience, education and reasonable fees are not all. You also need to have a close working relationship with the lawyer. Think about going to the doctor. If you are afraid to speak to the doctor then he or she is going to miss possible health problems. You need to have open lines of communication with the attorney. So, you need to be comfortable with the attorney you select. Above all, criminal attorneys need to treat clients with respect. Clients charged with felonies and misdemeanors feel bad already. They don't need the lawyer to make it worse. The job of the criminal defense attorney is to help take the stress off of your shoulders and shoulder it themselves. That can be very stressful. However, the more times the lawyer has been in the trenches the more comfortable they will be taking on the stress you are feeling and thereby helping you to relax a bit.WHO’S MY LAWYER?
Finally, make sure that the lawyer you hire is the lawyer you get. There is a trend these days for the experienced lawyers to act as the 'hook' to get clients in the door, then the clients are promptly dumped on a less experienced lawyer to appear with them in court. This can look attractive to clients, since the younger attorneys should charge lower fees. However, the idea that ANY court hearing is routine is false. Any time you walk into a court room a "fire fight" might break out. Do you want an experienced combat veteran-hired gun at your side, or someone who has never been anywhere but a pretend firing range (ie moot court or traffic court)? Along these lines ask yourself who would you prefer to work on your car…the high school kid earning shop class credits or an experienced mechanic who has worked on thousands of cars? If it is important for your car it is definitely important for your life.
Young attorneys may not realize that every time they walk into the court room something can happen that might wind up in the Supreme Court. And it could. Only experienced lawyers can make the right call in the court room when the going gets tough.STORYTELLING
Finally, on a lighter note, you might ask the criminal defense lawyer if he or she has any stories about their big cases. Lawyers are natural story tellers. If they have no stories they either have no experiences or they can't tell stories. In either case: Beware!History Of The FirmQuestions To Ask When Selecting A Lawyer
Phone: (206) 569-8630
Phone: (206) 569-8630
Phone: (206) 569-8630