A Guide to Hiring a Houston Federal Defense Attorney
There are around 1.4 million lawyers in the United States, so in full and busy cities like Houston, it can be hard to narrow things down to the right one. If you’ve decided you need a Houston federal defense attorney, you need to know how to identify the right professional for you.
Although you might feel rushed and want to grab the first result from Google, this could lead to you getting a lawyer that isn’t the best for your case, which means a worse outcome.
Instead, take your time to research lawyers and land on one you feel confident is in your corner. Here’s how to do that.
Look for an Attorney in Your Area
Although it sounds obvious, you should ensure you’re hiring a lawyer in your area. Even if you’re having mostly virtual meetings, it’s essential to do this because you’ll have to get together at some point, but also because they must know the local courts.
Being familiar with the court system around you can help them gauge the outcome of a case better and predict what certain professionals will do. It also ensures they have good relationships in the area with other people, meaning there’s a wealth of resources on hand for when you need them.
Look for Experience in the Field
When hiring legal services, you should also ensure they have experience in the field. Some lawyers will have their years in practice proudly stated on their website, so you don’t have to go further.
You can ask how long they’ve been working as a federal defense attorney if they don’t. No lawyer would be offended by such a question, as they understand that you’re trying to find the best math for you.
Make sure you specifically ask how long they’ve been doing this type of thing. While a divorce lawyer, for example, may be excellent at what they do, federal defense is a different area of the law, and the attorney you hire needs to be well-versed in that.
Check They Have a Good Track Record
Once you’ve confirmed that they have experience in the field, you need to make sure your federal defense lawyer has a good track record. Ask about how many cases they’ve won vs. how many they’ve lost, and you can also ask about the circumstances of those cases.
Speaking with past clients and looking at reviews is also a good idea. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as their friends and family, and there’s a reason for that. They’re left by third-party neutral sources who have no reason to lie, and they’ll give you a great picture of the professional.
You can ask for references if you aren’t satisfied with the reviews you find online (or want to do your due diligence regardless). These may be from other professionals who trust the lawyer or past clients willing to talk to you about their experience.
Lastly, you can also ask how many of their clients come from referrals from other lawyers. This is a standard practice among lawyers who don’t have time or the right experience to take a client on, and if your attorney has a lot of clients from referrals, it signals that other professionals trust them to do a good job.
Ask About Your Case
Now that you’ve established they have years in the field and have a good track record, you should ask about your case. Some questions might include:
- Have you handled cases that are similar to mine?
- What was the outcome of those cases?
- What do you expect the result to be to mine?
- What’s realistic for me to hope for and what isn’t?
- What are the most significant barriers we have to overcome?
Not only will this help you decide if you have the right lawyer for you, but it will help you get a professional image of your case. White-collar crimes can be challenging to understand when you haven’t been trained in the law, so having them explained is always helpful.
Consider Their Communication
At this point, you’ve spoken to your potential lawyer quite a bit and asked many questions. Now it’s time to decide how you feel about their communication style and if it suits you well.
First of all, your Houston attorney should be able to explain things to you in a way that’s concise, clear, and the furthest thing from patronizing. They’re the expert in the law, and they need to break things down for their clients, but they should never do so in a way that feels condescending.
They should also respond to inquiries quickly. While lawyers are busy and often work long hours, they shouldn’t take on more clients than they can cope with, and it should still feel as if they have plenty of time for you.
Lastly, they should feel nonjudgmental. This is likely a hard time for you, and your lawyer shouldn’t be impatient or judge what you’ve done.
In any case, it’s essential that you feel you can open up to your lawyer, and if you can’t, this is a problem. Even if you’re ashamed of some parts of the story, a lawyer must have the complete picture to do the best job with your case. If you don’t feel you can talk to your lawyer, you may need to find someone who’s more understanding and encourages you to open up.
Ask About Their Availability
You’ll have to meet with your lawyer regularly to complete paperwork and work through your case. That means you both need to be available on the same schedule.
For some people, this is more difficult than others. You may, for example, have a job that restricts any free time to certain hours. Before you go any further, it’s essential to make sure you and the attorney can meet up regularly and make sure you’re available simultaneously.
Check Out Their Workspace
You should also check out their workspace or ask about it if you’re meeting virtually.
An attorney’s office can give you a great representation of how they work and how organized they are. It also allows you to meet the other staff, like assistants and paralegals if possible. Most lawyers will have a lot of help staying on top of their client’s cases.
An office should never feel like everyone is struggling to find things and give an air of chaos. Instead, it should feel like everything is in its place, and staying on top of your case is of the utmost importance if you decide to hire this lawyer.
Find Out How Much They Cost
Lawyers are notoriously expensive. 100 million Americans can’t afford legal help.
That’s why asking about fees and figuring out how much this will cost you is essential before you commit. Lawyers may charge in various ways, as fee structures vary between firms. They may charge hourly, charge retainer, etc.
However, it’s important to consider everything else about the attorney despite the expenses. An attorney may be expensive but also have a stellar track record, which could cost less in the long run regarding court fines. A less experienced attorney may not be able to wiggle down the consequences as much.
Make sure you can afford the attorney but don’t use the fee to decide if you can help it. It should be one part of the whole picture.
Trust Your Instincts
Lastly, you should consider your instincts and ask yourself questions like:
- Has research shown this lawyer is respected in the area?
- Do you feel comfortable when you talk to them?
- Does what they say reasonably match your research about your case?
- Does their communication style mesh well with yours?
If you feel comfortable with them and can answer yes to the above questions, you might have found the right lawyer for you.
This Is How to Hire a Houston Federal Defense Attorney
Hiring a Houston federal defense attorney can be a daunting prospect when your lawyer can make or break your case. However, if you research them, ensure a good track record, discuss your case openly and honestly, and ask all the questions you need to, you’ll find the best one for you.
Contact us today if you need a trusted and proven lawyer in the Houston area. We’re committed to protecting your rights.