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How to Find a Top-Rated Criminal Defense Attorney

Whatever you are going through right now, this is probably a tough time for you. The legal system can be challenging to navigate at the best of times. Making sure you have someone standing next to you who knows their stuff and can help you along the way is crucial.

But how do you find a top-rated criminal defense attorney? The last thing you need to add to your troubles is a lousy lawyer who is just out to make money. Instead, you want someone who understands your unique situation and has the skills necessary to ensure the best result possible.

Today, we’re giving you everything you need to know to help you in your search for the best criminal defense attorney.

How to Find a Top-Rated Criminal Defense Attorney – the Right One 

Finding a good defense attorney who is proficient and successful in criminal law might not be simple. Don’t lose faith though, but do not anticipate finding one by merely thumbing through the yellow pages or looking at newspaper ads. Such resources do not provide enough information for you to make the best choice for yourself. 

References from Friends/Acquaintances 

Sometimes, you might find that someone who lives in your area has had the same type of legal troubles as you have and their story (stories) might help you. An example of a case someone near you may have encountered is sexual harassment, and there are groups for women where you might learn more too. 

You might be able to find a criminal defense lawyer through a group like that. Sometimes, you might talk to six or seven people before you learn more and see a top-rated criminal defense attorney. There is a great chance you will walk away with some great information. 

It is essential to decide without moving too quickly and having efficient details. Try not to base the choice of the lawyer just on another person’s advice. Everyone will have different answers about an attorney’s characteristics and style; do not choose a lawyer without meeting him or her first. Also, have a consultation with the legal professional about your legal issues and make sure you can trust him or her and will feel at ease working with the attorney. 

Additionally, it might be tough to find a criminal defense attorney via personal recommendations because of the skill you will want and need. For example, if a neighbor told you about his or her excellent divorce attorney; however, you require expert legal advice, the recommendation might not be beneficial. 

Internet Services 

Several websites on the Internet, which include Nolo.com, provide methods of connecting with nearby attorneys, based on your location and kind of legal problem you have. The website will ask you some general questions regarding your case and request contact details, then the appropriate type of attorneys can contact you personally. 

Nolo’s Attorney Directory 

Nolo provides an exclusive lawyer directory that offers a wide-ranging profile for each lawyer with data that will assist you in choosing the correct lawyer. The profiles show you each attorney’s skills, degrees, experience, fees, and perchance most significantly, the attorney’s overall viewpoint/attitude of law practice. Nolo has confirmed that each listed lawyer is certified and licensed and is in upright standing with the bar association where they practice law. 

Professional Recommendations 

Professional companies that offer services to individuals in the legal location you are in might additionally be capable of assisting you with finding the most proficient criminal defense attorney that you would consider discussing your case with. E.g., If you need answers regarding small business, you might wish to talk to an accounting professional, insurance agency, your bank, and a real estate agent. These individuals are in touch with attorneys who work with and for small companies and can make informed, up-to-date decisions. 

Attorney Recommendation Services 

Attorney services for referrals are an additional resource of legal information. There is a broad distinction in the excellence of attorney recommendation services, yet, although they must be approved by the bar association where they practice law. 

A few attorney recommendation services prudently screen lawyers and only reveal ones with specific credentials and a particular volume of previous experience, while additional referral services list any lawyers who are in good standing with the state’s bar association where they practice and have enough insurance. Before you decide on an attorney referral service, you might want to inquire about experiences, skills, and education.

What some referral services might not provide, thus, is an insight into the attorney’s way of thinking and attitude – for example, whether he or she will spend enough time being a legal mentor or how hard he or she will work regarding your legal issues. 

Additional Resources 

The following resources are additional options you can look to for possible contenders in your search for an attorney: 

• You can contact your state’s director to find an excellent criminal defense attorney 
• You can contact your local Chamber of Commerce to locate a lawyer. 
• You can contact non-profit organizations that know your type of legal troubles. For instance, if you are trying to halt a significant new apartment building and you are in a legal dispute regarding that matter, it would be logical to confer with an environmental organization dedicated to fighting the municipal spread of development. 
• You could contact a legal librarian, and he or she might be able to show you lawl books, articles, or other written materials regarding your legal case – E.g., building regulations. 
• As mentioned earlier, men’s or women’s groups (if your case is in this type of category) will most likely have a list of respectable domestic/personal and divorce attorneys. 

Think about a High-quality Professional who Specializes in Specific Legal Matters 

Many lawyers specialize in specific law matters, and even an alleged family physician might not have much knowledge regarding a topic or your legal problem. E.g., with all the attorneys there are (globally), possibly over a million of them, only a third of them might have expertise with your legal issue or other types of law. 

It pays off to have an attorney who has education and much experience in criminal law and other types of law, such as  
• Employee discrimination 
• Zoning rules and regulations 
• Software development problems 
• Restaurant permits/licensing laws 
By finding a high-quality legal professional who specializes in the law, you need help with you will benefit more. At times, specialists might cost more; however, if the lawyer’s specific info and knowledge are valuable, their pricing will be worth it in the end. 

Consult with Likely Attorneys 

When you look for a job, you like the interview process because it helps you find out if you like the employment opportunity and the employer. It should be the same, if not more vital when finding a proficient lawyer. You will want to interview him or her to make sure he or she is the best fit for your legal issues. Most lawyers will set up at least thirty minutes to give you time to ask all the questions you need to ask and give you enough answers to your questions. 

Nature – Character of Your Attorney 

The nature/character of your lawyer is significant as well. You will want an attorney that you get along with and feel comfortable spending time with them. You also want to be able to trust him or her. Even if you find an excellent, well-respected, successful lawyer, if you are not comfortable with him or her, it won’t work for you. Have faith in your instincts and find an attorney who you feel comfortable with from the very moment you meet face-to-face. Also, importantly, make sure he or she has many years of experience, individual understanding, and is reachable to you whenever necessary. 

Verbal/Written Communication and Punctuality 

You will want to know how you will be able to get in touch with your lawyer and how prompt he or she will be at getting back to you when you reach out. It is important not to presume that since the criminal defense attorney appears friendly and you can talk to him or her with ease, the time to get back to you might be longer than you hope for. 

Regrettably, the grievance logs of every attorney regulatory organization show that various lawyers are not great with communication (verbal or written). If you wait for days or even a week to hear back from your attorney, you will not be happy and will lose faith in him or her. You could also lose time in court cases as well. You do not want to lie awake at night worrying. 

Associated Advertisements 

It is human instinct to want to be in control, and it is tough to put your life’s matters into another person’s hands. It is especially difficult if the case takes longer than it should take to handle it. You need an attorney (or defense lawyer) who is hard-working and has your best interests in mind, not his or her well-being. You want a lawyer who gets things done promptly and is prompt when you need to know how the legal case is going. 

Preparedness to Work with You 

When you have legal issues, you require legal details. Attorneys, indeed, are chief sources of this legal info. However, if you paid for all the data needed at the rate at which they learned it (E.g., possibly $150 to $450 hourly), you would not have any savings left. Luckily, numerous attorneys are willing to work with you to assist you with getting a conventional understanding of the legal rules and processes you need to be aware of regarding your legal trouble. 

If you are considering representing yourself and use an attorney to get legal answers, make sure the attorney agrees to that kind of situation/relationship. Similarly, if you plan to start a business and intend on writing the bylaws and or company agreements on your own, you might want to consult with a lawyer is he or she is willing to look over your documents and company agreements and offer advice before you proceed. 

Additional Resources You Might Be Interested in Looking At 
For more guidelines on selecting and working with an attorney who specializes in many areas of law, see the eBook The Lawsuit Survival Guide: A Client's Companion to Litigation, by Joseph Matthews (Nolo). 


Before meeting with an attorney, you may wish to study some popular (and possibly even not-so-well-known) legal definitions. Get Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary, available as a free iPhone app (also compatible with iPod touch). 

In Conclusion

Finding a top-rated criminal defense attorney is not as difficult as you may think. There are tons of resources available if you know where to look.

One of the first places to look is within your circle. Check with friends, family, and acquaintances for any recommendations.

The internet also is a great place to find lawyers who can represent you effectively. Often, law offices will advertise online, and you will generally be able to check ratings and reviews to make sure they are what they say they are.

If you’ve never heard of Nolo’s Attorney Directory, then you need to check it out. It has a very comprehensive listing of attorneys, their specialties, and more.

You can also look for guidance from professional recommendations. Different industries have attorneys that specialize in different areas of the law. Professionals from various sectors are an excellent resource for finding the right lawyer.

Attorney recommendation services are another good place to look when you are searching for a criminal defense attorney.

As you look to hire an attorney, remember that you are employing them and therefore they need to pass an interview process (with you as the interviewer) before you hire them. Such things as their character, their punctuality, their communication skills, and their ability to do an excellent job in your unique circumstance should all be taken into consideration before you make a final decision.

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