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Choosing Wisely: Selecting the Perfect Lawyer for Your Legal Needs

 Drugs, Drunk Driving, Divorce have something in common.

They all start with “D.” They also, and to us more important, are examples of the things that happen to all too many of us. Good People do bad things, and good people are accused of bad things which they did NOT do!

There are many people, both more and less culpable more or less at fault at law, who are going to take a trip on the criminal case railroad. Each can choose to navigate the journey alone, or can do it with a conductor, a lawyer.  But which lawyer is the best choice? 

selective focus photography of three books beside opened notebook

If funds are truly unlimited, than consider retaining not a lawyer, but a lead counsel in one of the short list of the perhaps 3-5 criminal defense firms in Colorado. The late Kobe Bryant was acquitted in the hands of Haddon, Morgan et. al.  There are a couple of other firms, like the Possner firm, which I can honestly say that in some if not many cases, they can get a better result than most defense lawyers in Colorado.

Most of us are not in a financial position to hire the living  Johnnie Cochran’s of the profession, or the Gerry Goldsteins. And in any event, when one of the firms is retained, the first named partner will probably not be your lead counsel.

I believe this is true from traffic to treason.  Except for who the lead counsel might be.  And in every one of those cases the job of the lawyer is the same. Get the best possible result for the individual client. Traffic or treason there is only one way to handle a case. The right way!  There are no small cases. There are small lawyers. Every person I ever represented thought their case was serious and important, and that it deserved being represented as if they are important, and their case is important.

book lot on black wooden shelf

First, consider the one or two organizations which focus on criminal defense in the courtrooms and in the rest of the world. The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar is our best group of lawyers that place a highest priority on criminal cases and criminal defense.  Of course not all wonderful defense attorneys are members. The Boulder Bar Association is a great resource. Call the Boulder Bar Association and find out who has chaired the BBA’s Criminal Law Committee now or in the past? That might not end  up being your lawyer, but might well be a source of great recommendations. Who are members of the criminal law committee of the state and local bar associations? Consider NACDL, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Consider using the Internet more as a tool for vetting possible attorneys rather than a tool to locate the right lawyer. Of course, again, there are exceptions.

Sometimes meeting with a lawyer is critically important to deciding who to retain. If someone says any of the following, you do NOT want this lawyer. “I’ve never lost a case.” “I promise that I can get _______________ [will in the blank with any result that might be promised.” I know the judge, the dda, Are great lawyers cheap? Not often. BUT fortunately there are many very very good and excellent lawyers that are far less expensive than the absolute top tier, the smartest of the smart and best of the best. While some lawyers may not like admitting it, for a given case there might be someone else who would be a better choice. I see it as a “Macy’s – Gimbels thing, like the movie. When I talk to someone who is trying to find a lawyer, I first help them sort out whether or not they need a lawyer. Frequently the conclusion is that they do. Then, is my firm right, or is it someone else? If your lawyer can’t be honest with you during the first call, do you think that will get better or worse over time?

SO, in a nutshell, your lawyer should be someone who is knowledgeable and  experienced in the area covering your situation. and must be someone you can communicate with and with whom you are comfortable. If you don’t have a great feeling about your lawyer on day #1, it probably won’t get better as the case proceeds, and it won’t help when the lawyer is advising you and you must make critically important decisions based significantly on the lawyer’s advice.



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