Experience tells us finding a civil or criminal defense lawyer is easy–finding the right lawyer is another matter! Mike Berlon and I want to help!

In this video, Mike and I offer advice to people who need help in hiring the right lawyer, right now. Further, if you have already hired a civil or criminal lawyer, you will learn strategies to hold your lawyer accountable.

Throughout this video you will hear Mike and I stress the importance of working openly and honestly with your lawyer—if you do not tell the truth, you are throwing money down the train and you’re setting yourself up for a bad outcome.

Telling the truth requires introspection—if you are unable to look inward and fully understand the ramifications or the accusations laid out in a lawsuit or criminal indictment, ask for help. Too many people spin lies and minimize their conduct—in time (sometimes years down the road) they come to see things differently and recognize their actions were wrong, and in some cases, criminal. By then, it is too late. Do overs, as we know, do not exist. We cannot change the past.

In this video, Mike and I discuss the pros and cons of paying a lawyer an hourly fee versus a flat fee. Too many defendants hire lawyers they cannot afford. It is essential to understand how much they charge per hour, and if they are billing you hourly, you should get an idea of how much to budget.

In some cases, a lawyer may be able to resolve a plea negotiation and guilty plea in less than 100 billable hours, preparing for trial in federal court would likely require several hundred billable hours.

A flat fee may or may not serve your interest. Every case is different. On the plus side, a defendant that has a flat fee knows exactly how much to budget. On the negative side, a lawyer that receives a flat fee may be disinclined to devote much time to the case after he is paid.

Before hiring a lawyer ask about the types of cases he or she practiced. A lawyer that specializes in defending tax cases may not be the best fit for a defendant facing criminal charges related to mail fraud that could result in the loss of liberty. To the extent possible, use contacts and referrals to ascertain the expertise, honesty, and competence of lawyers with regard to specific types of cases, in a specific jurisdiction.

When interviewing lawyers ask to speak to past clients (at least two) and check to see if they have had any issues with The State Bar. We also encourage you to review a few sentencing memorandums they have written.

Unfortunately, some lawyers suffer from the God Complex. According to Wikipedia a god complex is “an unshakable belief characterized by consistently inflated feelings of personal ability, privilege, or infallibility.” When lawyers suffer from the God Complex it becomes difficult to have your opinions or feelings heard—they essentially steam role you into submission. The result is cowering and fear rather than a healthy collaboration or partnership.

Our whole team, including Mike and me, hope you find value in this video.

Justin Paperny

P.S. If you have questions, please schedule a call.