Imagine the situation – yourself, or someone close to you, has committed a criminal offence, and you are now in a position where you need to try and find a criminal defence solicitor. For most of us, this would be an extremely daunting scenario – especially considering the seriousness of a criminal offence, and the potential implications of hiring the wrong representation. So what are the factors that you should consider when making this decision?
The right lawer
The first thing to recognise is that not all lawyers are the same – for example, the lawyer who helped you to buy your house is unlikely to be the same lawyer who would be able to help you out with this criminal matter. It is however true that there are some “one-stop shop” law firms, who perform lots of different legal services, from civil to criminal, to immigration etc. There is a decision to be made in this situation – is it preferable to go with a “one-stop shop” law firm or do you choose a specialist?
Another factor to consider is the location of the criminal defence solicitors which you choose. Although the law of the land may be the same throughout a country, it is also true that different states or regions will often have different procedures or guidelines for different types of legal cases.
The next factor to consider, and most likely to one of the most important factor, is does the criminal defence solicitors firm, which you are considering, have experience representing defendants in similar cases. For example, if you are seeking representation for an assault case, you would prefer to use representation from someone who had defended a previous client in a similar case.
There are several potentials methods in which you can find out whether a potential law firm has relevant experience. The first, and probably easiest method, is to simply speak with the criminal defence solicitors and ask them directly. However, as some firms may charge for initial consultations, this can sometimes end up being a costly experience. The second, and probably cheapest method, is to do your own research. Most, if not all, legal firms have extensive websites these days. You can often find out much more information by looking at a firm’s website, seeing their experience in similar cases, as well as seeing more general information about the firm itself. There is often also a wealth of information on the internet in general – a simply Google search will normally suffice.
One final factor to consider is that element of trust, or what could be described as a personal connection. This factor can be circumvented if you already have a criminal defence solicitor who has represented yourself, or someone close to you, previously. These solicitors usually come with a recommendation, which is always positive.
It is true to say that the personal connection factor can be debated – the majority of defendants would prefer that the criminal defence solicitor who is defending them is someone that they like and trust, and have a good connection with. This in turn, lends to the notion that the lawyer and client are equals in their legal relationship, and may indeed promote more honesty.
However, other defendants are more concerned about the actual results which a lawyer can deliver. There is a difficult line to maintain between the professional and the personal relationship. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that although we are talking about personal interactions – there is something much larger at stake. A person’s life, freedom and future may potentially be at stake.
Whatever the decision to be made, it will always be one of the toughest decisions you have to make.
M & A Solicitors are one of the UK’s most respected specialist criminal practices, based in York. Founded in 2002 by Damien Morrison, they have grown into leading criminal experts and have a team of dedicated legal experts, all with a minimum of at least 5 years experience. All solicitors at M & A Solicitors are qualified as a Court and Police Station Duty Solicitor. M & A Solicitors has experience in a wide variety of criminal matters including criminal, regulatory, immigration and road traffic matters.