We have all seen the ads. They trumpet, affordable, low cost cheap, et cetera et cetera. Obviously, we all want to pay as little as possible to get the services we need. But, are you getting a good lawyer when you shop for an affordable one?
The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends on the lawyer. Some lawyers charge very little, but then do very little to help their clients. I have actually seen ads saying, if you know how to fill out a change of plea form (what you fill out when you plead guilty), then you can handle DUI’s. That is just pitiful. If your lawyer is going into your case planning on just telling you to plead guilty, you are wasting your money. Other cheap lawyers are not quite as bad, but, not much better. They take DUI’s to pay their bills and then spend most of their time focused on their other “more serious” cases. You do not want an attorney who sees your case as an after thought. You want them to focus on it, regardless of the charges, as much as any other case they have.
Paying more also is no guarantee of good representation. Many firms charge more than their competitors, but then farm the work out to lower paid associates or other attorneys not even in the same office, who then make the court appearances and handle the case. Don’t pay extra for a nice office and an impressive lawyer who you meet when he or she is not actually going to be doing the work. That is like being shown a picture of a Jaguar and paying for that, only to get a Hyundai.
The key to finding the right affordable lawyer is to do your research and ask the right questions. See what the former clients have to say about the firm. Keep in mind, even the best defense lawyers have represented problem clients. One bad review probably only means one client didn't want to face reality. But, read a number of reviews to get a good sense. Be prepared to ask the right questions when you meet the lawyer. Who is going to be going to court for me? Is just one lawyer work on my case or is their a team effort fighting for you? How much experience does the lawyer have in cases like yours? Does the lawyer have a game plan for how to attack your case? Now, remember, until the lawyer knows all the facts, they cannot be specific about what their strategy will be. But, how do they generally approach cases like yours? If you have specific concerns or issues, bring those up and ask what the lawyer thinks about them.
Doing your research and asking the right questions is still no guarantee of finding a great lawyer. But, it is the best chance you have. Ultimately, you want to hire a lawyer who you feel comfortable with. In the end, you are seeking their advice and when it comes time to make tough decisions, you want to feel your lawyer has done everything possible for you and cares about your case.