Whether you are hiring a criminal lawyer, family lawyer or a corporate lawyer, it’s sometimes hard to compare apples with apples.
After all, every lawyer you find will be suitably qualified, come with some experience and will have the ability to talk to you about your case. They will tell you how confident they are when it comes to “this type of case,” and perhaps even mention a few judge’s names to impress you.
And maybe they are the best person for the job – but does the best salesperson necessarily make the best lawyer?
Spend a bit of time online and you will quickly discover that what may appear to be the right decision has the potential to turn into a choice that costs defendants thousands of dollars, years of their life or both.
Specialisation is Crucial
It is not enough for a lawyer to be able to “talk the talk,” and demonstrate an understanding of the merits of the case; your lawyer should be a specialist. In order to understand the true definition of a specialist – beyond generic claims and website boasting – we need to dig a little deeper.
Your lawyer should be able to discuss your case in detail and relate it to other cases, both those they have taken part in and others that are relevant to your circumstances. They should be able to not only express their confidence but also demonstrate legal precedent that they will refer to during the case. When offering an opinion, it should be backed by a legal argument, without unnecessary bravado.
This is important, because when in court your argument will be put in front of the judge or jury based on the law as it stands today. All the emotional pleading, confidence and empathy in the world won’t make any difference if the underlying legal framework is not solid.
How this Works Practically
When meeting with your lawyer for the first time, take all relevant documentation, and have an open and honest discussion with them. Even if you haven’t formally hired them yet, ask them about the merits of your case, and why they believe they can help you. Hopefully, they will refer to past experiences, other cases and the capacity of their firm to build a solid and robust defence. Many defendants choose to go with a lawyer who demonstrates obvious empathy for their circumstances. While this is a natural human inclination, it also detracts from the core purpose of your legal counsel – presenting your case as it relates to current legal precedent, not just putting on a show.