6 Signs You Hired a Bad Criminal Defense Lawyer And How to Avoid it in the Future
Hiring a high-quality criminal defense lawyer is one of the most crucial steps you can take in defending yourself against criminal charges. A truly skilled and effective lawyer will know how to advocate for you and work toward the results you desire.
Unfortunately, not all criminal defense lawyers take their job seriously, and there are many attorneys in California and elsewhere who simply can’t get the job done. While they might have other positive qualities and even likable personalities, when it comes to keeping you from conviction, they simply don’t have what it takes.
To help keep you from making the mistake of retaining insufficient counsel, here are six signs of a bad criminal defense lawyer and how to avoid hiring one in the future.
Communication in the legal profession is of the utmost importance. A good criminal defense attorney should be at your beck and call and be able to be reached (at least by phone or email) any time of day. They should also return messages promptly.
But a lawyer’s communication isn’t just important when it comes to connecting with their clients. A good lawyer communicates clearly and quickly with the opposing counsel, judges, and if need be, juries too. If your lawyer is a poor communicator, he or she is going to have a difficult time explaining your case.
Poor communication is one example of unprofessional behavior, but there are others too. If your lawyer fails to keep an unprofessional appearance, shows up late for meetings and court hearings, and speaks rudely, it is a telltale sign that you have hired a bad criminal defense attorney.
Lack of Experience
Experience matters. A criminal defense attorney who has only recently hung out their shingle isn’t going to understand everything they need to do to effectively articulate your case. While it’s true that everyone has to start somewhere, you shouldn’t roll the dice on your case with an inexperienced lawyer.
Another sure sign that you hired a bad criminal defense attorney is if he or she constantly makes big guarantees or promises. A good lawyer understands that there is much that is out of their control and they can only promise to work hard and do their best. Lawyers who promise otherwise are simply lying.
Ineffective or Nonexistent Support Team
In some small cases, a one-man show could be enough to mount an effective defense. However, if your case is more complex, it is best to hire a lawyer who works with a team of assistants, paralegals, associates, and clerks who can provide the support to your case you need. If a lawyer does have a team and they appear to be dysfunctional, that is most likely a reflection of the lawyer him/herself.
Lack of Interest in Your Case
If you get the feeling that your lawyer isn’t taking your case seriously, or that your’s is one of a thousand cases your lawyer is working on, you have hired a bad criminal defense attorney. A good lawyer gives the best of himself or herself to every case and never makes their clients feel like a little fish in a big pond. If your lawyer is doing just that, it might be time to think about hiring a new one.
How You Can Avoid Hiring a Bad Lawyer in the Future
Obviously, the best time to determine whether a lawyer is a good one or not is before you hire them. Pay special attention to an attorney’s communication practices from the very moment you contact them the first time. Are they easy to reach? Do they get back to you promptly?
You can also get a preview of their level of professionalism before you commit by keeping an eye on their office, attention to detail, and how they operate around their staff.
Finally, if at your very first meeting a lawyer appears distracted or makes over the top promises about what he or she can do for you, walk away immediately.
It should be noted that it is never too late to hire a new lawyer. If your current lawyer:
- is a poor communicator
- behave unprofessionally
- lacks experience
- makes big promises
- has an ineffective or nonexistent support team, and
- lacks interest in your case
Now is the perfect time to find a lawyer that will put your needs first and put all of their energy to work for you and your case. Don’t let a bad lawyer spoil your case. Hire a high-quality criminal defense lawyer with plenty of experience who knows how to get the job done.