Ten Things to Know Before Hiring a Domestic Criminal Lawyer

Hiring a criminal lawyer is never an easy decision. You want to be represented by someone who you can trust, and who has your best interests at heart. This is why it is important to do your research before deciding which lawyer is right for you. If you find yourself in a position where you need legal representation, make sure you review these ten key points:

  1. Find a law firm that has experience. Law is an incredibly broad field, and most firms specialize in several areas. It is unlikely that you will find a firm that has attorneys working on every criminal case there is, so narrow down your choices by reviewing which lawyers deal with which cases. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, for instance, you should not hire a lawyer who specializes in sexual assault cases.

  2. Read the reviews. Former clients will often write testimonials where they rate the quality of service they received from their lawyer. If your prospective attorney has negative reviews, or if they have no reviews to provide you with, you should probably look elsewhere. Just like you wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurant with poor reviews, you do not want a lawyer with poor reviews. 
  3. Turn to a database. Websites such as lawyerlocate.ca contain databases of practicing lawyers in a given area. If you need a lawyer in Kitchener, for instance, you can narrow your search to firms operating in that area. Each lawyer will have a profile that outlines their areas of expertise, and often will have reviews on those same profiles.

  4. Schedule a meeting. If you’re considering hiring a lawyer, it is always wise to meet with them for a consultation. Have a conversation with the lawyer about your case and be open and honest about what you want out of your representation. It is important that you trust your instincts – if a lawyer gives you a bad feeling and if you don’t think you can trust him or her, it is best to keep looking elsewhere.  
  5. Find someone who is accessible. Some lawyers can be reached at any time of the day or night – others only work 9 – 5. Think about the severity of your situation, and about your personal tolerance for stress. Would you feel comfortable letting your lawyer work at their own pace, or do you require regular updates and frequent contact?

  6. Be honest. When you decide to move forward with hiring a lawyer, it is important that you are open and honest with them about your situation. This will ensure that they are able to provide you with the best defence possible.

  7. Price-match. Lawyers are expensive, and you need to know what you’re getting into before you hire one. Request a quote from multiple firms and try to get the best deal possible. Be aware that some firms may under or over quote you – prices are not fixed, and you do not want to be in a situation where you are unable to pay your bill.

  8. Find someone with experience in the right court. Find out which courthouse your case will be heard in. You want a lawyer who is familiar with the building and the judges. This may result in a more favourable outcome.
  9. Do a background check. Has your prospective attorney ever been accused of mis conduct or malpractice? Have they ever been fired or suspended?

  10. Ask the right questions. Never forget that your lawyer works for you – you should never feel as though you are being bothersome by asking questions. The right lawyer will be patient and informative and will answer any questions that you have. If they do not, it is time to look for a new lawyer.