If you’re in need of a DUI attorney and your office does not look favorably upon your absence from work, procuring one during normal business hours can be difficult. The usual routine in this circumstance would involve asking around for referrals, checking out advertisements and conducting as much online research as you can.
This is fine, but you have a lot at stake because of the charges you face. You not only need a DUI attorney, you need the best DUI attorney you can possibly find. Sure, you can see what they’ve done and the services they offer on their websites, however, there is a quality that may be harder to unearth, but which may be the most important quality they possess – their reputation.
There’s No Substitute For A DUI Attorney With A Good Reputation
Think an attorney’s reputation is not that big of a deal? Think again. In 2008, Fred C. Zacharias, Herzog Endowed Research Professor at the University of San Diego Law School, published his Effects of Reputation on the Legal Profession. In his introduction, Professor Zacharias states: “Most obviously, lawyers’ reputations are important for clients planning to hire an attorney. In the absence of mechanisms that publicly grade attorneys, clients’ means of selecting lawyers are limited to reviewing the lawyers’ objective qualifications (e.g., their educational background), interviewing candidates, contacting references, and word of mouth.”
This statement can be instructive for you on how to conduct your search for a competent DUI attorney, one who enjoys a sterling reputation within the local legal community. An attorney who possesses a good reputation with other attorneys, law enforcement personnel, and with judges and their administrative staff, will be in a better position to argue your case for you.
How To Know If An Attorney Has A Good Reputation
Here are a few recommended steps you can follow in trying to determine if an attorney you are considering hiring enjoys a good reputation:
1. Seek out recommendations from the attorney’s former or existing client list: If this is not available online, call and request that you be provided with a list of clients to call for testimonials or recommendations.
2. Read articles written by the attorney: More and more attorneys these days are writing articles that are made available to the general public online or through social media. Often, you’ll be able to get a feel for how the attorney is perceived by the legal community of which they are a part of, as well as the knowledge they have in their field.
3. Conduct online searches: Type the attorney’s name followed by the word “lawyer.” Read as much as you possibly can about former cases the attorney has been involved in.
4. Perform a search for possible disciplinary actions involving the attorney: By searching Avvo.com, you’ll find not only if any disciplinary actions by the state bar have been issued against the attorney, you’ll also be able to read comments proffered by colleagues and former clients.
Interviewing Your Attorney
Since you probably are limited in the amount of time you have during the day to search for a DUI attorney, here is a systematic list of questions to ask any attorney you are contemplating hiring. Often, if he or she has a good reputation with the local legal community, this will become apparent during the conversation. The best time to conduct this interview is during your free consultation period, which is typically one hour.
- What is your experience in handling DUI cases?
- Is this type of case your primary area of expertise?
- How long have you been in practice locally?
- Tell me about your record of success with DUI cases.
- Can you provide me with a list of former or current clients for reference purposes?
- How much do you charge for your services and how are the charges structured?
- Will there be any additional costs such as filing fees or other administrative charges?
Post Interview Considerations
After your initial consultation in which you interviewed the attorney, you should be in a much better position to make an informed decision. If the answers the attorney provided have left you with a feeling of confidence in his or her’s qualifications you are almost to the point of asking them to take your case. But, before you do, run through this mental checklist to make sure that you are selecting someone who will do their utmost to try and exonerate you from the charges against you.
- Were the answers to my questions handled with courtesy and professionalism?
- Does this person have the necessary skills and qualifications I need?
- Is this person someone I feel I can be comfortable with representing me?
- Did this person thoroughly explain their fee schedule, and am I comfortable with it?
If after going through this checklist you are convinced you have selected a diligent professional and one who also enjoys a solid reputation amongst those he or she works with, congratulations – you’ve found someone who can assist you through this difficult time.
Seattle Criminal Defense & DUI Lawyer
If you have been charged with a DUI anywhere in the Seattle area and need a professional attorney with a respected reputation and a solid record of success defending clients, Matthew Leyba should be your first call. Contact Leyba Defense immediately to schedule your free consultation so you can discover how Seattle’s best criminal defense and DUI lawyer can help you through this difficult time.