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How to Choose a Lawyer

Picture this scenario for a moment. You’re standing in line at Starbucks waiting for your drink to be made when you spot a sexy stranger. You, being you, methodically saunter over to the delightful stranger and immediately strike up a small conversation with him or her. The conversation goes well and, as you grab your hazelnut macchiato, you ask the alluring stranger out on a date for dinner tomorrow night at the Olive Garden. He or she accepts your invitation, and you are super pumped! Tomorrow rolls around, and you show up at the Olive Garden ready for a wonderful night. However, you can’t seem to locate your date. Several minutes pass by before someone who you’ve never seen before approaches you and informs you that he or she is there on behalf of the sexy stranger you met the other day at Starbucks to stand in and be your date for the evening.

Sounds absurd, right? Well, you’d probably be surprised to know that this is exactly how some law offices and attorneys work. Believe it or not, often times, when you hire an attorney to represent you in a legal matter, that particular attorney is not the attorney who actually ends up handling your case. Instead, the case is often times immediately passed down to a less-experienced, associate attorney, paralegal, or even a law student who is simply interning for the attorney’s office. Worse yet, some firms simply shuffle your case back and forth among the firm’s staff members and delegate it to whoever happens to be available at that particular moment and has time to review a motion or attend a hearing for your case. This means that, rather than having a single attorney who is 100% familiar and responsible for your case, you essentially have 2 or 3 different attorneys or staff members who are each partially familiar with your case. So, just how exactly do you choose a lawyer to represent you?

Some Suggestions for Choosing a Lawyer to Represent You in Collin County, Texas

While there are certainly several different factors that can come into play when considering to hire an attorney, I’ll just start with the one that I feel is the most important. First and foremost, you should choose a lawyer who you feel comfortable with to represent you. Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free consultation, either by telephone or in-person. Take that opportunity to get a feel for him or her. Does the attorney sound like he or she has a genuine interest in helping you? Is he or she someone who will shoot you straight? Does he or she sound willing to help you understand your case as it develops and the consequences of the choices that you will be presented along the way?

Also, as I mentioned above, you should make sure to ask questions about who will actually be handling your case. Using the same facts as before, let’s look at an example. Let’s suppose that it’s your final court appearance, and you need to decide whether or not to accept the plea bargain that the State has offered you or reject it and set your case for trial. It is absolutely critical that you make an informed decision about how to proceed at this point, and who is going to be in a better position to explain the benefits and consequences of each choice…an attorney who has handled every single aspect of your case or an attorney who simply made a brief appearance on your behalf a few months back and spent a few hours reviewing your case before meeting with you at the final court appearance?

Finally, you should ensure that the attorney you choose to represent you is familiar with practicing in the county in which your charges are pending. Let’s look at another example. Assume that you are charged with a Class B Misdemeanor Theft and the State offers you a plea bargain. How are you going to know whether or not the State’s offer is fair if your attorney isn’t familiar with other offers that the State has made on cases with facts that are similar to yours? Your attorney must be familiar with the Court’s customary procedures, policies, and operations in order to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

Now, these considerations are in no way meant to be a comprehensive list of factors to bear in mind when choosing a lawyer to represent you. However, they are some of the ones that I seem to come across a lot. And, many of these points are the very same considerations that I take into account when deciding whether or not to represent a potential client who has contacted me for help. Being charged with a criminal offense can be a very stressful and frightening experience, especially if you have never been in trouble before. So, I hope that these points make the beginning of the process a little bit easier for you if you or a loved one has recently been charged with a crime.