Picking a lawyer is about as tough a decision as anyone ever has to make, so imagine if you are charged with a crime and you have to choose a lawyer to represent YOU! This past week another lawyer sent me a potential client who is charged with a felony. "Why me?" "Because Bob says that you have more experience making something out of nothing than anyone else he knows!"
Guilty. I have to admit it – there is something to experience. Something to having been there and seen it and dealt with it before. Sometimes you don’t have much to use so knowing how to use it can be an advantage.
There is a thing about experience that matters if YOU are the client! Legendary Texas trial lawyer Richard "Racehorse" Haynes says it this way: "If you go in for heart surgery, you want a surgeon who has done it a few times before." And that is why you need to ask any lawyer you are thinking of hiring to represent YOU in a case that looks like it is going to trial HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN TO COURT? This year? Last year? In the history of the world how many cases have you won? Lost? Are you willing to fight for ME?
Get the answers to these questions and ask one more: What is the most important trial you have ever been in?
Braggin’ about numbers is one thing, but that last question will tell you about the person. What does he or she care about? Is it money or freedom? If you know what matters to you and it matters to the person who will walk YOU through the valley of death, you may have found YOUR lawyer. If you’re in for a fight, choose a fighter, not a banker in a velvet suit. The courts are full of those guys. Pick someone with more on his or her mind than how to pay for the Lexus.
A federal judge I admire says it this way – "You can’t fake it – either you’ve got the fire in your belly or you don’t. Judges know it and so do juries. You can’t fake that stuff." Pick that lawyer – the one who cares about you and your case. The one who has been there before. The fighter.