What are the five “must haves” of a great criminal defense lawyer?
1. Your lawyer must look out for your best interests.
Your lawyer has to have a grasp on the best possible outcomes in your case, based upon the facts of your case, and relevant law in your case, what your expectations of outcomes are, and what your needs and wants are. Every case is different, and it is the lawyer’s job to take the time to know each of these factors to look out for your best interests and get you the best possible outcome.
You want a lawyer who looks out for you.
2. Your lawyer must know who the players are in your case.
There is an old adage that goes something like this: “A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.” This is part joke, and part truth. Just remember, a great lawyer would never do anything to try to improperly influence a judge.
The adage is part true because a lawyer’s knowledge of the players in a case is very important. A great lawyer knows who his opponents are and who the judges are. A great criminal lawyer either already know about the judge and prosecutor in your case, or he or she will take the time and find out who they are, what their reputations are, and how to handle them.
Would you want your lawyer to walk into court for you not knowing about the judge presiding over your case? Would you want your lawyer not to know how to handle the prosecutor in your case? No.
You want a lawyer who can shift according to the situation and make moves accordingly.
3. Your lawyer must know the law.
The fact that your lawyer must know the law should go without saying. However, some lawyers are better than others at staying on top of the law. Remember, laws change over time, and a great lawyer will do what is necessary to learn the law and to learn about changes in the law.
You want a lawyer who knows the law and how to apply it to your case.
4. Your lawyer must know the facts of your case.
Some cases are more fact intensive than others. Your lawyer must know how to marshal the facts of your case, such as by interviewing witnesses, by subpoenaing witnesses or documents, by visiting the scene of an incident, by getting the right discovery material, and by knowing what questions to ask from whom.
If your case has serious facts, you want a lawyer who can handle a serious case.
5. Your lawyer must handle the courtroom well.
This may seem obvious, but trial advocacy and courtroom skills are skills learned over time. They come from experience, common sense, and from a track record of being well prepared.
You want a lawyer who can handle the courtroom.
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