FAQ

Can I afford good representation?

Cost is always relative but experienced counsel may cost less than you think. Attorneys usually charge one of two ways, by the hour or flat fee. Hourly fees have a tendency to quickly deplete a retainer since the actual time spent on a case my not reflect the benefit to you. My office usually charges flat fees since my experience allows me to accurately judge the time necessary to successfully complete a case. This method permits clients to know the cost of the case up front and not have to pay for unexpected complications. If I expect that additional procedures will be necessary depending on future factors we establish a series of flat fees covering those eventualities. I do not like tying myself to a set time limit or shying away from potentially helpful work because a client cannot cover the hourly fee. My office completes the job for the price quoted. If more work is needed we do it for the original price. If additional procedures are found necessary we decide together whether the additional expense is worth the cost. I have found this method minimizes the cost to my clients and more realistically reflects the cost/benefit as well.

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I heard that who you know may be as important as what you know, is that true?

Yes. The best move is to hire experience and knowledge. But how do you know an attorney has one or both. Check their educational and professional credentials, their years of experience, their work history, whether they have specialized in one area over a long time, who in the firm will be going to Court with you, and whether they are street smart as well as book smart. My career answers questions in all these areas. I am the only attorney in my firm so I will represent you at every hearing. Give me a call it's free.

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Can I represent myself?

Yes. But the old saw is a person who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer. You can self medicate and self treat also. You may cure yourself. But if there is a complication or the condition is more serious than you thought you may be in big trouble. I offer a free consultation. At least 10 times a week I tell people they can represent themselves without serious complications. Why not have a professional explain the situation to you before you prepare for surgery.

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Aren't all Lawyers the same?

No. Besides the experience and knowledge question answered above, each attorney has a different personality. Just as doctors have bedside manners so attorneys differ in the way they relate to their clients and their cases. You must be comfortable with your pick. My firm is laid back. Some people do not like that and want more formality. We firmly believe that our experience and knowledge is the only difference between us. We prefer to educate our clients so that they can participate in discussions and eventually decide what we are to do. My job is to effectuate your choice. This method has worked for 25 years. Call us.

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Public Defenders aren't "real lawyers" and they work with the Prosecutors right?

No. Some P.D.s are Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys and many others are superb lawyers. However you don't get to pick your P.D. and their experience varies. Additionally the P.D.s usually carry an overwhelming caseload. There is only so much time to go around. The P.D. does not normally investigate and develop a case early in the process. In many cases they do not have time to spend on a case until a decision to send a case to Grand Jury or prepare it for trial has been made. This may be too late and may miss opportunities otherwise available. On the other hand the P.D. has investigators and experts available that you may not be able to afford privately. The P.D. does not work with the prosecutor and does have the best interest of their clients at heart. But they are involved in the "system" that requires moving the calendar expeditiously and this may put a pressure on them that does not normally concern private attorneys.

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Are all Courts the same?

No. The Courts vary depending on the Judge, the prosecutor, the police department and even the volume of cases in the vicinage. Some towns and all counties have numerous Judges. An experienced attorney can sometimes work the system in your favor and not rely on the luck of the draw. Then again, sometime things just do not work out. In all cases knowing the Judge and Prosecutor permits an intelligent strategy to be formed. Knowing the "menu" is equally important. The "menu" is the normal range of plea negotiations and sentence recommendations that a particular vicinage, Judge or Prosecutor permits on a given charge. These factors are not learned in any book. They are developed only by long years of practice.

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Why do they call it the "practice of law" shouldn't you know it already?

A Law Professor of mine said it is because you never are perfect and have to keep practicing. I have found that the more I learn the more I realize I don't know. Only someone uneducated thinks they know it all. Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys tend to talk to each other often. (There are only about 250 on the defense side in the State and we all know each other) We knock things around and exchange gambits, successful tactics and information on Prosecutors and Judges. This is also the concept behind the Inns of Court where the area's trial attorneys (both defense and Prosecutors) meet monthly with the Judges to talk and study together.

Certified Trial Attorneys must also take a minimum of 10 hours of continuing legal education courses each year. Other attorneys are not so required. The law, both statutory and case law, changes so often that continuing education is a must.

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