Everybody wants the best. This is especially true when they’re in trouble. When someone has to file bankruptcy, they want the best. Divorce? They want the best. Hurt in an accident? Only the best.
What about criminal defense attorneys? Sure, why not?
Great. How will you know if you found one?
Ask this question to anyone who has never had to hire a criminal lawyer and they will have a wonderful fantasy of what they would imagine as being “the best” looks like. The problem with that is that it’s based on fantasy.
You can blame it on movies and television. They imagine someone dropping down into the courthouse steps from a helicopter, only three minutes before the judge takes the bench. Deep down inside, we all know its nonsense.
So how do you know?
Would you hire the best criminal traffic lawyer for your speeding ticket? Does it make sense to spend $1,000 dollars to fight a $170 dollar ticket? Maybe you want to make a point. Or maybe you’re missing the point.
To get to the heart of the issue, we may want to take a page from our friends in medicine. When people think of the best doctors, they don’t necessarily imagine one in a 50-story building surrounded by space-age technology. We think of someone we can trust has our best interests in mind. What that “looks” like is different for a lot of people.
So back to the idea of attorneys. The best criminal defense attorneys will have a healthy mixture of what any profession should have (good reputation, a solid track record of experience, a valid and legitimate way of showcasing their skills or talents), and possibly the most important ingredient of all: A way of showing you that they actually care for your well-being. Which is more difficult than you may think. But you will get a good sense of whether they are the best once you begin speaking with them.
Here are some other factors to guide you on what the “best” is and is not.
The best criminal defense attorneys will not promise every single client that walks into the door that they can beat there case, get them off, or “make things disappear”. These would be unrealistic expectations and would jeopardize the integrity of the system we all live by. Instead, the best would take into account every individual client and assess where the evidence and the law come together to make a likely or preferred outcome for that individual client.
The best criminal defense attorneys will not tear down the front doors of the courthouse and yell at judges while they throw their briefcases at local prosecutors. Browbeating or overly aggressive behavior will get a lawyer chased out of town in no time. So what’s the benefit to the client when their lawyer has a reputation for being unpleasant and insecure? Rather, the best lawyers will know when to turn up the heat and when to be professional. A commitment to justice is a big burden to carry on ones shoulders. The best criminal defense attorneys will approach their jobs with a healthy passion to help the person that needs their advice and skills—not a senseless determination to bring more conflict than necessary in the courts.
Finally, from what lawyers in all practice areas will agree is shared by the best attorneys in the craft is a careful attention to details that most would overlook. How many times have you gotten a haircut by someone who is just “going through the motions” versus that special stylist or barber that takes into account the shape of your head and the way you like to comb your hair? Or what about the best restaurant? Look around you and you will find that those who pay attention to small things as well as the big will have a passion for doing a good job. And the best criminal defense attorneys will have that kind of reputation. Being patient, being selective, and being diligent in our work are all the things that make us the best. You will see it the first time you meet with such a lawyer. It’s hard to describe. But you will just know.