Since I am not an attorney yet, I get asked all the time “how do I find a decent Austin criminal defense attorney”. So I put together some broad factors to consider when looking through a lawyer listing. Even if someone is a “referral”, you should do your due diligence. The internet is chock full of reviews.
Look, just because someone hired an SEO Expert, it doesn’t make them a good attorney.
OK, so – for all my Austin friends, my criteria… These include but are not limited to:
The criminal lawyer you choose must be licensed to practice in your particular state (Texas) in order to represent you.
Some criminal defense attorneys specialize in a specific area of criminal defense e.g. theft, DUI, domestic crimes, technical crimes, violent crimes, and others. It is helpful to find an attorney with a concentration associated with your specific charges because this means they will have more experience in that area. Please don’t hire a lawyer just because you saw them on a billboard.
Find out the law school and college they attend and what degrees he holds. This information should be located on their Linkedin page or company website.
Find out if the attorney you are interested in has ever at a law school or CLE program, or published a legal article. These activities take research and show field work dedication, and a commitment to good practice policies and will help you determine your lawyer’s standing in the legal community.
It is up to you to decide the qualities that your criminal defense lawyer will need to represent you best. Do you prefer someone who works in a large or a small firm? More experience with a larger case load or someone with less experience and less cases so they can put more time in to your case? Are strong credentials important?
Reputation- It is important to consider your attorney’s reputation; some are known for taking difficult case. You can find out more about your lawyer’s reputation by reading testimonials from previous clients, reviews, and publications. In addition, Find out if he or she has ever held an office in any of the organizations that he or she belongs to. This will indicate how colleagues feel about him/her. Determine if your lawyer has earned a Martindale-Hubbell rating. AV is the highest ability/ethics rating based on the opinions of judges and lawyers who know; BV and CV are good also. It is important to note, however, that many attorneys do participate in the Martindale-Hubbell’s directory and rating system.
The cost of private defense varies based on a variety of factors that include the nature of the charges filed against you, the lawyer’s level of experience, how complex the case is, the jurisdiction that the charges were filed, and more.
Bottom Line is — please do some research! The internet is full of places to look. Find some reviews, testimonials… or ask me in three years 😉