What To Look For In A Criminal Defense Attorney



If you are charged with a crime, the only thing standing between you and prison may be your lawyer. So, before you dial the number you see on your TV screen, you should consider what you’re going to ask a prospective attorney at the interview. (Yes, you’re hiring, therefore you’re interviewing.) So, you need to know what to look for and how to evaluate whether the lawyer you call is up to the task of representing you. The Anthony Pope Law Firm has more than 30 years of criminal trial work, so we’re happy to give you a heads up with these questions:

How long has your attorney practiced criminal law? An attorney can tell you he or she has practiced law for 10, 20 or 30 years, but if 90 percent of that time has been in estate planning, you’ve probably got the wrong lawyer. Make sure the attorney you hire has concentrated in criminal law for at least a decade.

How many trials has your attorney taken to verdict? Believe it or not, a criminal defense law firm, even in Jersey City or Newark, may rarely go to trial. Most of their work is done negotiating settlements or plea bargains. Ultimately, a plea bargain may be your best option, but you want to choose it for that reason, not because your lawyer is afraid to go to court.

Does your attorney have prosecutorial experience? The only way to learn to be a trial lawyer is to try cases, and no one tries more cases than a prosecutor does. But more than that, prosecutorial experience gives a defense attorney an understanding of how the opposition operates and helps in the development of courtroom tactics and negotiation strategies.

Does your attorney argue appeals? Appellate practice requires a detailed understanding of the law, especially current case law, and a genuine talent for argument. Also, an attorney who practices appellate law knows enough to raise issues during trial to preserve them for appeal.

Does your attorney inspire confidence in you? An attorney may have charisma, charm or simple honesty and candor. But the bottom line is if you don’t feel comfortable with your attorney, you’re not going to have a good working relationship and something’s going to slip through the cracks, damaging your case. Moreover, if you aren’t impressed with your lawyer, how do you think the jury will react?

Can your attorney tell a good story? A trial, in essence, is a story-telling competition. The prosecutor spins a narrative and the defense responds with another. The jury then decides which story it likes best. All the legal knowledge in the world won’t help you if your attorney can’t hold the jury’s interest and deliver a compelling story.

For a capable criminal defense attorney in New Jersey, call us today

The Anthony Pope Law Firm fits what you’re looking for. We have a solid track record in state and federal criminal cases. To schedule a consultation, call us at 973.536.2346 or contact us online.