Over a year ago, I wrote an article on Jacksonville Attorneys website. It was called Should I Hire a Private Lawyer or Use the Public Defender in Florida. I addressed the differences between hiring a private Jacksonville criminal lawyer and using an attorney appointed from the Office of the Public Defender. There are two important points that I made. First, you do not have the option of choosing your public defender. There are a lot of attorneys in that office. Your file will end up on the desk of one of them. You do not choose who that person will be. You want an attorney that you will work well with. You are going to have to open up and tell your lawyer things. You want someone that feel comfortable with and that will use the information in your best interest.
Second, you are one of many clients at the public defender’s office. I was a Jacksonville criminal attorney at the public defender’s office in Duval County FL. I loved working there. It was an excellent opportunity, and I worked with some of the best and brightest legal minds. But, even the best attorneys cannot focus on one person when the have many people to help. One of the reasons that I left the office was because I was not able to give my clients the attention that they deserved. Being arrested is one of the worst experiences a person can go through. It is a hard time in your life. You need someone to help you and give you attention. When I was an assistant public defender, I made sure I wrote things down in the files about my clients, so I could remember things about their cases and personal lives. As a private Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I know my clients. I remember their cases. I can work on their cases more often. This is what people pay for when they hire a private lawyer in Jacksonville. Clients want a knowledgeable attorney that will fight for them and that has their best interests at heart. They also want an attorney that pays attention to them. They want an attorney that answers the telephone. They want an attorney that remembers their names.
The reason that I am bringing this up is because of something disturbing that I experienced yesterday. I called an attorney in another jurisdiction with which I share a client. I wanted to inform him about what occurred with the Florida criminal case, so he would be able to help my client in the other state. He did not have any recollection of the client. I tried to refresh his memory, but it only helped a little. It reminded me of when I was a public defender, and I needed to look at the notes in my file to refresh my memory about a client. This is understandable considering I had over 100 clients. The reason that you pay for an attorney is for he or she to be your lawyer, not everyone’s lawyer.
Here are some things you may want to consider when hiring an attorney:
- Is the attorney available? Do you speak with the attorney or are you talking to a receptionist or paralegal?
- If you hire this attorney, will he or she be the one working on the case, or will it be given away to a lower-level associate?
- Will you be able to contact the lawyer on his or her cell phone during emergencies?
- How fast does he or she respond to voicemails and emails?
- How many other clients does the lawyer have? Will he or she be able to spend enough time on your case?
- Do you get along with the attorney? Do your personalities work well together? Are you both on the same page when it comes to how the case should be handled?
- Is your attorney a “go-getter” and will you attorney go the distance for you?
- Is your attorney knowledgeable and does he or she have experience in the subject matter?
When you are deciding to hire a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, be sure to tell the attorney what is important to you. Ask the questions that are on your mind.
Questions? Call (904) 564-2525 or send an email to Find a Lawyer.