How Do I Pick A Lawyer?

You have been charged with a criminal offense (or need a lawyer for any matter really).  You’ve never hired a lawyer before and have no idea where to start.  In this article I will explain some questions you should ask and what you should look for when you are interviewing a lawyer.  Yes, you read that right, you are interviewing the lawyer.  When you meet a prospective lawyer it is you who decide if they are the right fit; whether you want them to work for you.  You are conducting a job interview and deciding if this is the person to hire.  Here are four tips or questions to ask during the interview.

 

  • Do You Specialize in an Area of Law

If you needed heart surgery you would want a heart surgeon, not a family doctor.  The same goes for lawyers.  You want someone who has significant experience in the area of law you need help with.  So for a criminal case you want a lawyer who defends criminal cases every day, not someone who does a bit of everything.  At Hardy and Associates we only practice criminal law.  This means our whole firm’s mandate is defending criminal cases.  Nothing else.

 

  • How Long Have You Been a Lawyer, How Much Experience Do You Have

Being charged with a criminal offence is scary.  It can have significant consequences and impact your employment.  For those reasons you want a lawyer who is very good a what they do.  Though some junior lawyers are very experienced, it is good to ask your lawyer how long have they been practicing.  Just because a lawyer looks to be a certain age, does not mean they have been a criminal lawyer their whole career.  Look at their credentials.  Check or ask what year were they called to the Bar (this means the year they became a lawyer).  This is a very fair and important question to ask.  You can also ask: how many cases like mine have you defended?  How many jury trials have you done?  How many Charter applications (where the lawyer argues your rights were violated)?  This way you will get a good sense of how much experience the lawyer has.

At Hardy and Associates, we have over 60 years of combined experience.  Jack Hardy was called to the Bar in 1979, Damon Hardy in 2002, and Marcia Hilliard in 2008.  Each of us have represented many clients at jury trials and brought many Charter applications.  Each of us have practiced criminal law exclusively for our entire time as lawyers.

 

  • How Much Will This Cost

It is important at the initial meeting you ask the lawyer for a detailed quote of your legal fees.  Though the lawyer may not be able to give a firm quote that early on in the case, for often the lawyer needs to see the initial disclosure (evidence) to get a sense of the complexity of the case, the lawyer should be able to give you a rough estimate.  Ask are you being charged a block/set fee or being billed hourly.  What is the hourly rate?  This is important to avoid any surprises down the road.

At Hardy and Associates we give you an estimate of our fees at our consultation.  We generally charge block fees, a specific cost for your case, from early on, so you know the exact cost of our representation.  We accept reasonable payments plans and accept all major forms of payment.

 

  • Who Will be Working on My Case

Lawyers often have support staff and paralegals who work on their files.  Sometimes a file gets assigned to a junior lawyer.  You want to ask who specifically will be working on your file.  Will I be seeing the lawyer I am interviewing or a junior, a support staff or another lawyer?  You want to ensure you meet the people who will be involved with your case.

At Hardy and Associates you will be assigned a lawyer of your choice.  Our support staff assist with administrative tasks but all legal work is done by a lawyer.

By | 2018-07-25T12:22:58+00:00 June 5th, 2018|Information & Education|0 Comments