How to Choose an Attorney 101
January 6, 2015
We’ve talked a lot here about reasons why you might need an attorney – for some, it’s for a first-time DUI, for others it might be because of a drug charge, or even a serious traffic ticket (think reckless driving).
A skilled and experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney makes every honest effort to bail you out of any tough situation and tries their best to keep you far off from the harsh consequences of any deed, consciously or unconsciously done by you. He or she tries to dismiss all the unfavorable evidence presented by the prosecution against you. Sometimes they also try to suppress substantial evidence by proving it to the court that these have been tampered with in the police interrogation procedure.
Apart from this, they have considerable knowledge about the laws of the state as well as the legal proceedings. So, they can always guide you in the right direction, and with their valuable advice, you can always expect to be rewarded with a positive and favorable outcome. Without a proper attorney who understands your case and is passionate about defending your case and mitigating justice, your entire future will be at stake. So, knowing how strict the criminal laws of Pennsylvania are, you must get in touch with a lawyer if you have been charged with a criminal offense.
But what we haven’t talked about it how you choose one.
The American Bar Association estimates that there are about 4,900 attorneys actively practicing in West Virginia, and there is more than 10 times that number in Pennsylvania.
That means a simple Google search is going to yield thousands of results.
While checking out attorneys’ online profiles and social media pages (where there are often ratings and commentary from both clients and colleagues) is always a prudent idea, I also recommend looking for the “Super Lawyer” or “Rising Star” designation when seeking a Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney. And no, it’s not just because I have been named as a Rising Star myself.
If you’re not familiar, Super Lawyers is a rating service of lawyers from about 70 different practice areas who, as the website states, “have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.”
Attorneys who are designated as a Super Lawyer Rising Star are either 40 years old or younger, or one who has been practicing law for less than a decade.
By way of statistics, only 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are named Super Lawyers, and only 2.5 percent become Rising Stars.
While those designations in no way should be the only determining factor in your choice of legal representation, they are good barometers for the type of professionalism and service you will get. I know that most of the time, a person looking for a lawyer is frantic and feels pressure to find one quickly. Often, this leads to hiring the first guy or gal you find, but that’s not the best thing to do. Even though you feel panicked and like you have to hire someone NOW, it is best to interview a prospective attorney.
Ask the lawyer you call about his training. What groups is he a member of? How often does he update his training, especially if he’s a DUI lawyer? How many years of experience does he have and what areas of law does he defend?
It should go without saying that you make sure his specialty matches your needs. It will do you little good to hire an attorney who specializes in wills to defend your DUI case.
One more recommendation from a Pittsburgh and Morgantown criminal defense lawyer? Take advantage of free legal consultations, and if you have a serious case, make sure you meet your prospective lawyer in person before retention to ensure you like both their legal plan and their legal style.