Not all Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers are the same. Some really are better than others. That may be obvious, but the difficulty for you is finding the best criminal defense lawyer for your unique criminal case. And just how are you supposed to know whos the best lawyer for you? Its not an easy task and given the stakes, its an enormous decision that may mean the difference between a great and poor result.
For the past 20 years, the overwhelming percentage of my clients came to me because I was recommended by someone they respected. In fact, other attorneys have recommended many of my clients to me. These attorneys know me, the quality of my work, my reputation in the legal community and the results I have obtained for their friends, family and clients over the course of my career.
Awards, ratings and top attorney lists are greatly appreciated, but for me personally, the highest form of compliment I can receive from my peers, is the faith and confidence they have in me by recommending and referring someone they care about into my professional care. Its the highest form of compliment I can receive from another attorney.
Repeat Clients and Client Referrals
But as humbling and as greatly appreciated as attorney referrals are, without doubt, the absolute highest compliment Ive received is the many repeat clients and former clients whove referred their friends and family. That has meant more to me than all the ratings and awards put together.
Having practiced criminal law in Tarrant County, Texas my entire career, I can count on one hand an elite group of criminal defense lawyers that practice here in Tarrant County that I would refer my family members to should they ever have the need. And yet, often times, lawyers with six months experience and whove never even tried a criminal case are rated higher than those elite attorneys. So, please take attorney ratings with a grain of salt, save one:
Martindale-Hubble has been professionally rating lawyers across the country for over a hundred years, and Martindales ratings are the ones lawyers and judges use when evaluating other attorneys. Thats because Martindales rating is peer reviewed, that is, its based upon reviews from other attorneys and judges. Martindales AV Preeminent for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability rating is the highest rating they award, and less than ten percent of attorneys across the country have this AV rating. If its not referenced in an attorneys advertising, its a good sign they dont have an AV rating. So ask. If you go to my website, youll see my AV rating is prominently displayed, not just for your benefit but for opposing counsels, as well.
Other Factors To Consider When Evaluating A Criminal Defense Lawyer
As an attorney, here are a few other things Id want to know when deciding which attorney to hire. Where did they go to law school, how long have they been practicing criminal law in Fort Worth, are they a jack of all trades and master of none? In other words, does the lawyer focus solely on criminal defense or do they also handle car wrecks, divorces, wills, slip and falls
hopefully you get the picture. And last but certainly not least, what are their fees?
The old saying, you get what you pay for, is a still a good general rule of thumb. Let me try and put this into a legal context. When you pay an attorney, among other things, youre paying for your attorneys time and attention. I personally know many good criminal defense attorneys that have chosen to have preset, inexpensive fees and as a result, have hundreds of current, pending cases at any given time. Heres the point: Even if youve hired the best attorney, if the attorney doesnt have the time to spend on your particular case, youre not getting his best. Hes simply spread too thin. If thats the case, was the money you did pay well spent?
When youre facing time, you want your attorney to have the time to devote to your case. Personally, I cannot represent that many people at one time and give each my best. So, I made a decision early in my career not to fall into the trap of accepting tons of cases on the cheap. Its not how I wanted to treat my clients, nor was it how I wanted to run my practice.
Id like to end my first blog by saying a heartfelt thank you to each and every client Ive had the privilege and honor to serve and to the many attorneys whove honored me with their referrals through the years.