Following up on a post last week pertaining to hiring a lawyer, and the difference an experienced DUI attorney can make in the final outcome of your matter, I wanted to briefly discuss a few key things that will assist you on your journey to find the right attorney for you.
Identify what your goals are
It is important to know where you want to be when the final bell is rung, that way you can take affirmative steps to get where you want to be. The type of result you are looking to pursue plays a huge role in your decision making process on what type, and which exact attorney to hire. In my experience, most people fall into two main categories. Those who want to fight the DUI to the best of their abilities, and those that see the misdemeanor conviction as a fleeting speed bump in life. Neither perspective is per say “right,” but before making the latter decision, I encourage you to fully analyze the consequences of a DUI.
Shop Attorneys, not price
A very helpful tool for many professionals when making a decision that encompasses much more than purely financial resources, is to take money out of the equation all together. Talk to as many attorneys as you can, interview them at length, and ask as many questions as you can to educate yourself on the intricacies of your case. During this initial “courting” stage, I encourage you to put aside monetary concerns and budgetary constraints. Doing this allows you, at least preliminarily, to narrow the field of attorney candidates to those that you feel are the most qualified and would represent your best interest in court. Make a list, rank them from first pick to last, and then after you have decided who (outside the cost) is best for you, move on to evaluating your financial resources.
In most situations, when people take the time and make the effort to go through this thorough process, they realize the correlation between the firm they want to hire, and a price that is generally higher than the firms they would rather not have represent them.
Always set an appointment for an in-office meeting
An attorneys office is a reflection of their professionalism. From the support staff, the waiting room, the cleanliness and processional demeanor of the office, to the quality of the building where the attorney chooses to pay rent, it’s all an indicator of how that attorney wants the public to perceive him/her. It’s important to see your attorney in his own habitat. In the place where he conducts business. In the place where you will eventually expect him to be working on your case.
Look for signs of work being done. Case files, papers on the desk, word documents open on the computer screen, an “in” and “out” box on the lawyers desk, and make sure to take special note of whether or not the support staff really seems to know what they are doing. A lawyer’s work product is only as good as the workers he has helping him, it’s always a team effort.
Overall, If you spend the time necessary to make an educated decision on who is the right fit for you, I truly believe you’ll “know it when you see it.” The right attorney will usually be pretty clear if you interview enough. Good luck!