If you need to hire a lawyer for a criminal case at the trial level, consider getting the answers to these questions from any attorney you talk to: 1) What percentage of your work is criminal law? 2) How many jury trials have you handled? 3) What is your experience in the particular court where the case is located? Finally, you have to ask yourself this important question: 4) Do I trust this person with my case?
First and foremost, you need to know whether you are dealing with a criminal defense attorney or not. If you choose to have your criminal case handled by someone who devotes less than 90 percent of his or her time to criminal law defense, well, that's your decision. But you should at least know that up front.
On the second point, don't be impressed by trial numbers unless they are for jury trials.
The third point can be very important, depending on the case. Other things being equal, it may be advantageous to have an attorney who knows the judges and prosecutors in a particular court over someone who has never practiced there, although that is by no means always the case. Certainly, if you have a Federal case, you need to know the attorney's Federal experience.
I have acted as lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials. My jury trial experience includes cases charging crimes ranging from felony DUI to premeditated murder, complex Federal drug conspiracies, Hobbs Act robberies, financial fraud and other white collar offenses. I have obtained more than a dozen outright acquittals for my clients, and have tried several other cases either to a hung jury or conviction on lesser offenses.
That gets us to the most difficult question. The attorney you choose to handle your criminal case, or that of a friend, client or loved one, must be someone you both respect and trust. Trial experience is important for lots of reasons, but less than five percent of criminal cases actually go to trial. Deciding whether to litigate a case or to resolve it by plea or other negotiated disposition is often a complex and difficult task, frequently involving numerous legal, emotional, and other considerations. Your attorney must be someone you know will fight for you when it's time to fight, negotiate when it's time to negotiate, look out for your best interests at all times, and be honest in his or her assessment of the case and the realistic options available. In short, he or she must be someone you can trust.
I pride myself on the relationships of trust and respect that I have with my clients. I treat every case individually, providing each client with the best advice that my experience, skill and knowledge can offer, and pursuing my client's considered objectives to the best of my abilities.