Most of my clients have little, if any, experience choosing a DUI lawyer. My clients come to me with a DUI charge, and they simply want a way out of it. They are inexperienced in the process, and they do not understand what factors they should weigh more heavily in evaluating different lawyers. This difficulty is completely understandable, and the web does little, if anything, to help. Particularly in the area of DUI defense, the internet has improved the quantity of information of available to prospective clients, but often times, the impression one receives from the internet can be misleading as it relates to a lawyer's practice.
My experience has been that, in evaluating different lawyers, clients disproportionally weigh the years that a lawyer has been “practicing” and the “training” that the lawyer has received. I openly admit that I am a bit obsessed with training that I receive. I have invested a small fortune in seeking to obtain the very highest level of training available, but I also recognize that obtaining the very best training does not help my clients any unless I am ultimately willing to put that information to work at motions hearings and trial.
The key to identifying the “right” DUI defense lawyer may lie less in the professed “training” and “years of experience” and more in the willingness of the lawyer to try your case. What does it mean to be willing to “try” your case? Well, that is simple: when it comes down to it, is the lawyer willing to go forward and make the state prove the charges against you in a contested hearing?
Most people naturally assume that every lawyer will take your case to trial if that is what you want to do, but that is not necessarily the case. In practice, most lawyers impose a great deal of pressure upon their client to accept a negotiated plea simply because the lawyer is unwilling to take the case to trial. This is an unfortunate truth in the DUI defense world.
When I read Dan Heath and Chip's article “Why True Grit Matters in the Face of Adversity” on Fast Company, this reminded me of the elusive factor in lawyers that most clients just don't grasp: it is very difficult to determine if your lawyer will actually be willing to do the dirty work for you.
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