The decision of which lawyer to hire can be exhausting. Many factors need consideration, not the least of which is cost. Attorney Kyle Watkins understands the demands this process puts on a person that already is under tremendous stress, which is why he offers a 20 – 30 minute consultation and case evaluation at no charge. The no charge case evaluation and consultation relieves much of the stress associated with contacting an attorney and learning exactly where your case ranks in terms of complexity and attention required.
Factors to consider when looking for a lawyer:
- Focus Does the lawyer you are considering focus only in one area of law, or is he/ she an attorney that does a little bit of lots of things? Often an Attorney will handle many types of cases, which gives the lawyer more opportunity to find work from lots of sources. While this is advantageous for the lawyer, it may not be advantageous for the client. Whenever you need a lawyer, be it for a child custody dispute, contract dispute or a criminal case; you will be well served to consider finding a lawyer that focuses on and works solely in that one area of law. You could ask your general practitioner Doctor to remove your child’s wisdom teeth, but most people will go to an oral surgeon. When a serious issue arises and you want to be confident in the result, a day-in-and-day-out professional that focuses in that one area is likely what you need.
- Attention Who will be actually working on your case? Lawyers operate their individual law firms in many different ways. In some firms the lead attorney is heavily involved in the case and handle every aspect of the case, while other firms have large support staffs that will handle some or many aspects of a case. If you are considering hiring a lawyer that will delegate work on your case to her/ his staff, ask what percentage will be handled by the lead attorney. You may also want to learn exactly what will be handled by the support staff and what will be handled by the lead attorney.
- Cost Generally speaking, the cost of an attorney is normally based on how complex the case is. However, you may find that the rates for attorneys on criminal cases can vary greatly. In most instances you will find that more expensive attorneys simply have more costs associated with their practice (eg: office staff, nice office space/ furniture, multiple types of insurance if they take cases in multiple areas of law, etc., etc.) and require more money from a client to make a case economically viable for them to take on. Here you must remember that what matters in this situation is you, and what is best for you and your family. When a criminal charge is pending, many people have enough financial stress and concern about future earning ability – if this is you, be mindful of what it is you are paying for when you hire your lawyer.
- Caution When consulting an attorney, be cautious of promises and blanket statements. While it could be true that a lawyer “always” gets X cases dismissed, such statements to clients are ill advised, promises that almost never can be kept, and would likely be designed for the sole purpose of committing a client to a case on the basis of telling the client exactly what he/ she wants to hear. While this tactic is extremely rare in the legal profession, it can happen. If you find yourself talking to a lawyer saying he guarantees a result or “always” gets X, you are almost certainly in for a long, painful ride if you commit to hiring that lawyer. A good lawyer will tell you everything that you need to hear, not what you want to hear. A good lawyer knows that only by giving you a complete understanding of the good, the bad, and the ugly in all aspects of a case, can you make the best decision for yourself and your family.
- Your voice Your attorney is your voice. In talking to the Judge, the Prosecutor, and the Jury your attorney is effectively an extension of yourself in the Courtroom. Your attorney’s word choice, tone, inflection, body language, eye contact, rapport, presentation ability, knowledge of the law, trial skill ( including: jury selection, opening statement, examination of witnesses, closing argument ), all can have a tremendous impact on the result you get your case. When deciding who to hire, you must remember: ‘the way my lawyer is viewed by the decisionmakers in the Courtroom is how all those people are going to view me”. Your lawyer is your personal representative – when you encounter a brash attitude of arrogance and conceit: trust your gut, which will see through the image calculated to project confidence and know that a Prosecutor, Judge, and Jury is unlikely to be persuaded by a lawyer with a smug demeanor. All of the decision makers involved in your case are people too, and the degree to which those decisionmakers like, respect and trust your lawyer will often affect the outcome of your case. Remember: your lawyer is your voice.