1. He claims that he is a “seasoned trial lawyer” who has tried thousands of cases but now for some reason he wants you to plead guilty.
Lawyers love to call themselves “trial lawyers” and often put it on their websites, business cards and other marketing material. Yet most of these “trial lawyers” simply don’t want to go to trial and spend most of their time hard selling their clients into pleas. Did you really hire this person for a plea? Before you hire a lawyer, you need to determine your goal. What do you want to accomplish. If you want to fight the case, your lawyer shouldn’t be hard selling you. Yes, there are times when it makes sense to plead a case but this is only after your attorney has thoroughly explained your options. Explaining those options doesn’t mean meeting you the day of court, in the hallway, and telling you that this is your best option. Your lawyer should explain these options in writing or direct you to resources such as free books or videos on your issue.
2. He gives you his cell phone and says “call me anytime” but never answers the calls
“Just call me, I’m always around, everyone knows me.” Does this sound familiar? If you are getting a voicemail or an answering machine, it’s time to look for another lawyer. Law firms who truly care about their client don’t rely on voice mail! Your criminal attorney should have a 24 hour service, this means you always speak to a live person. Who knows when someone will get a voicemail message. Your problem may need immediate attention and in the criminal defense world, things change quickly. Do you really want a lawyer for whom you may have to wait days for a response? If a live person isn’t answer the calls, you are relying on a voicemail system. If he doesn’t have a 24 hour service, he is either too cheap, too lazy, or doesn’t really care that much about his practice. Perhaps he would rather be teaching school or working for some non profit; good for him! Look for a new lawyer, this guy is not for you.
3. His law license has been suspended or revoked in the past.
Lawyers lose their license for ethical violations that means lying or doing something else involving dishonesty (taking someone else’s money or running some other scam.) Do you really want to give this person your money and let them handle probably one of the most serious issues in your life? Sure, we all deserve a second chance but don’t let that second chance happen on your case. It’s very easy to find out if a lawyer’s had problem. You just need to google their name or check out avvo.com. It’s great that he is “a changed man” wish him luck, get your money back which he hopefully hasn’t already spent, and get another lawyer!
4. The only update he gives you is his bill which comes in the form of phone call not even a letter.
How often is your lawyer communicating with you? What is the form of the communication? Is it a letter or just some phone call from the lawyer, from his cell phone, when he appears to be shopping for groceries or spending time playing with his kids? Everyone deserves free time but you deserve regular written updates. If your lawyer tells you “I’m always in court and I don’t have time for it” he is too cheap to hire the necessary support staff or just flat lazy. In addition to updates about your case, how often is your lawyer sending you an update about changes in the law, like a newsletter, a blog or an email? Again, if he is “too busy” ask yourself if this is really the person you want working on your case! Great lawyers are always trying to get better and the only way to get better is to stay on top of the law.
5. He fails to explain legal concepts and principles to you and just tries to be warm and kind to you.
Are you are hiring a new friend or a criminal defense lawyer? You have plenty of friends so forget that he is nice guy. You are hiring a criminal defense lawyer to defend you and get you results. Your lawyer must be resource of knowledge. This means he should be able to breakdown legal concepts and explain them to you. This should be done during your meeting and through books, newsletters and videos. If your lawyer is not able or not willing to explain these concepts he is either too lazy or doesn’t have a strong command of the subject! Either way he is a bad choice for you and you need to look elsewhere.