If you find yourself under criminal investigation or arrested for a crime, you probably know that you need an attorney, and you need one now. However, despite the urgency of your case, it is important to do your research and make sure the lawyer you choose is the best one for your specific needs. You wouldn't hire a family lawyer for a criminal case, and you shouldn't hire a lawyer whose expertise is DUI defense when you are facing serious felony charges for sex crimes or violent crimes. So how do you research quickly and well? One of the best ways to find a good defense lawyer is to ask others whom they would recommend. Some of us know a person who has had to retain the services of a defense attorney and can ask friends or family for lawyer recommendations. Many of us, however, do not know anyone with experience as a defendant in criminal court. If this applies to you, where can you turn for help? Many websites offer lawyer reviews written by the clients who have retained the counsel of local attorneys. These defendants then write online reviews based on their experiences with the particular lawyer. While it is important to remember that some lawyers may pay for good reviews on unscrupulous ratings sites, there are valid review sites that attempt to screen online reviews as much as possible to keep reviews accurate and authentic. Lawyerratingz.com is one such site. Avvo.com offers peer and client reviews of attorneys as well as providing a rating based on years of experience, board certification, education, disciplinary history, professional achievement, and industry recognition. Martindale.com is another site that uses both client and peer reviews to establish a lawyer rating. You can also visit our law forum to ask questions about your case and get free legal advice from area attorneys. The moderators of the forum verify all users posting as lawyers to ensure that users of the forum can trust the answers they get. Once you have gathered recommendations and screened client reviews of the several defense lawyers, it is time to select a few attorneys and schedule a consultation with each. Most lawyers offer free case reviews, and during this initial consultation, you can ask questions about the attorney's experience and trial record. Some questions to ask your potential legal counsel include:
- What area(s) of law do you practice?
- Do you specialize in one particular area or do you have a general practice?
- How long have you been doing this?
- How many jury trials have you done?
- When was the last time you did a jury trial?