By Steve Haney posted in Hiring Competent Counsel on Friday, April 19, 2013
“Its not what you know, its who you know” is a saying all have heard. I am sure it applies to many aspects of life, but none more critical than for someone entering the justice system charged with a criminal offense. The vast majority of “criminal defendants” are not the perceived hardened criminal. Most are regular people who have never been in trouble before, and will, likely, never be in trouble in the future.
Hiring competent counsel to help navigate the criminal justice system is critical to an outcome that avoids signigicant consequences. How does a person find such competent counsel? My advice, go local. First and foremost, go local.
Local lawyers always have an inherent advantage for their client. They know the prosecutors and they know the judges. Equally as important, the prosecutors and judges know the local lawyers. Law is rarely equal. Its application can and will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and even from courtroom to courtrooom within a jurisdiction. An experienced local lawyer knows the courtroom personalities and tendanicies of the judge and prosecutor.
Experience in the legal profession does not come from graduating from law school and then passing the bar exam. Neither teaches about the practical aspects of being a lawyer. An experienced criminal lawyer is one who has been practicing for many years in his/her local community, and, typically, was initiated into the criminal practice by work in the local prosecutors office or public defenders office.
If you have a serious medical condition, go to a teaching hospital in a major metropolitan area. If you are charged with a crime, find a former prosecutor or public defender who began his/her career in that jurisdiction and continues in private practice there as it is a cold hard fact that law is local.