Your research regarding Colorado criminal defense attorneys will expose you to a wide range of experience and reputation. It is important to read between the lines and make sure you do due diligence when determining who you want standing next to you in court.
Experience – Hiring an attorney without experience is not a smart choice. Everyone starts somewhere, but do you want to be with someone who may have never dealt with a situation like yours before, or does not have the influence with the prosecutor and judge to get results in court? You want an attorney that has the reputation for not settling for anything but the best results for his or her clients, and that knows the judge, prosecutors and court staff and local practice that will be involved in your case.
Reputation – The attorney that represents you is a reflection of yourself and your judgment. If you appear in court with a lawyer that does not carry respect with the court or prosecuting attorney, you will have an uphill battle, whether you realize it or not. You can get information on an attorneys reputation by asking around the legal profession and bar associations, searching the attorney professional discipline history, and researching peer-reviewed legal sources like the state’s official bar journal (Law Week Colorado), U.S. News and World Report Best Law Firms/Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other respected sources. Don’t trust many of the “awards” and badges you see on many attorney websites, as they are not legitimate, and are mere paid-for accolades with no review process.
Cost -Law firms and attorneys charge for their services in two ways: (1) flat-rate fees, or (2) hourly billing. A flat-rate fee includes a set amount for each phase of the case, such as a pre-trial phase and an additional cost if the court case proceeds to trial. Hourly billing requires an upfront retainer, and the firm earns it per-hour with expenses (mileage, paralegal time, etc.). The great majority of our clients are billed on a flat-fee basis, as it provides a cost-certainty to the client and is generally less than calculating the time spent on the case on an hourly basis. We want clients to make decisions on the case for the best result, and not be constrained or deterred by the cost of further litigation if it is in their best interest.
Comfort Level – You will be spending a lot of time with the law firm you choose, so you want to be comfortable and trust that you are in good hands from the beginning. The wrong choice in counsel can have dire consequences to your case, and the number one complaint against attorneys is lack of communication with their clients. The time you take on the front end in researching and consulting with attorneys can save you the aggravation of realizing you made the wrong choice and the added expense as a result.