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What to Look for in a Defense Attorney

November 1, 2019 John Engman

What to Look for in a Defense Attorney

Criminal Defense Attorneys in Grand Rapids, MITrusting someone to stand up for your rights is important. As your criminal defense attorneys of Grand Rapids, we want you to know what to look for in an attorney before you hire them.

This guide will give you a little more confidence while preparing you with the right questions to ask so you don’t get taken advantage of.

Ask About Their Experience

When looking for a defense attorney you’ll want to know how many years they’ve been practicing. Try to find someone with a minimum of five. Here at John Engman & Associates, we have over thirty-five years of experience in the field.

Don’t look at just years of experience though, look at the type of experience too. Some attorneys may have a lot of law experience, but not as a criminal defense attorney. It’s okay to ask your potential lawyer how many years they’ve served as a defense attorney, and how many years they’ve served in other law fields. Here are some question starters that can help you get the conversation going:

  • What professional bar associations are you and your organization affiliated with?
  • When and where did you graduate from law school?
  • How often do you appear in the courthouse? How often in the courthouse where my case will be held?
  • Can you describe your relationship with the prosecutor’s office?
  • How often do you and your practice represent clients with similar charges to mine?

We think it’s important that you also ask about the common age of people your defense attorney represents. Things like minor in possession charges or if you have a college student facing criminal offense charges should be noted.

Location Matters

Attorneys that know and understand the area your crime was said to be committed in have an insider’s edge. They’ll know the courthouse where your case will be handled along with the judges and local populous. When an attorney visits a new courthouse, they have to learn the communication patterns of the judge and jury. Things like body language and colloquialisms can get missed. Most attorneys are pretty good at picking up on queues fast, but as your Grand Rapids lawyers, we want to make sure you always get the best services possible.

Know If Their Heart Is in It

You may have heard how criminal defense attorneys get a bad rap or are only in it for the money. If you catch a whiff of that with your lawyer, it might be time to make a switch.

Heart matters when it comes to defense cases. Your lawyer has to understand you, work with you one-on-one, and be able to communicate with you as if you were an old family friend. Our job at John Engman & Associates is not to make up false stories or construed opinions about you so you look better in the eyes of the judge and jury. Our job is to represent you for who you are and to show how you are protected under the law rather than punished. We want to stand beside you when you’re in distress, not stand in the distance waiting for the case to close. Knowing the heart of your lawyer will help you talk and plan with them for even the most challenging of cases.

Know the Case Economics

At John Engman & Associates, we don’t charge anything for our initial consultation with you. Some law firms like to add hidden fees and surprise you with unplanned bills–beware of this! When talking as a potential client, make sure everything is upfront and you’re aware of what the process will cost.

There are things that are unpredictable depending on the size of your case, such as how many days you’ll have to appear in court. But a lawyer you can trust will layout the groundwork of their services before you walk into that courtroom. This is a good rule of thumb for not only defense attorneys but your family lawyer too.

Do Your Research

In today’s age, we have the power of Google at our fingertips. Before deciding on a defense attorney, make sure you do your research on them. Check what other people have said or warned about. Client testimonials are powerful tools for learning what it’s like to actually work with someone.

As your local family attorneys, we also want to warn you about web lawyers. Anyone that isn’t willing to meet in person, yet ensures their commitment to your case, should be avoided. You deserve to meet your lawyer face-to-face and for them to give your case full attention.

Need Legal Help?

As your Grand Rapids, MI lawyers, John Engman & Associates is here to help when you need it most. To schedule a free consultation, feel free to reach out and contact us online or by phone at (616) 429-9576. Our criminal defense attorneys are happy to serve you and your family.