Questions to Ask When Hiring A Lawyer?
Derek Byrd, Byrd Law Firm
Hiring a lawyer is a very important decision. I’m always amazed at the questions that aren’t asked by potential clients. Whether you’ve been referred by a friend or you saw an ad, or the source is “word of mouth”, there are a lot of critical questions you should ask when hiring a lawyer.
The first is to ask the lawyer what percentage of his/her practice is in the same area of law for which you need an attorney. For example, if you’re hiring a criminal defense lawyer, I think it is a good question to ask, “What percentage of your practice is criminal defense?” Honestly, if that lawyer’s answer is anything less than 90%, you should probably meet with someone who practices exclusively in criminal defense.
The next question would be is “How many jury trials have you handled?” You would be amazed to know how few jury trials lawyers have actually handled. You know, most lawyers, good lawyers like we have here at The Byrd Law Firm, have lists they can hand you. I could actually give you a list of my last 50 jury trials. As a matter of fact, I put it on my website.
But make certain that you ask your lawyer how often he/she goes to trial and when their last jury trial was. Also, “How many jury trials have you had in the past five years?” You should also ask the lawyer if they’ve ever tried a case that is similar to the charges you’ve been arrested for and whether or not they are Board Certified.
Florida has a very stringent Board Certification process which makes it very difficult for an attorney to become Board Certified. Less than 5% of all lawyers in Florida are Board Certified, thus, it’s a very good sign if a lawyer is Board Certified. That means the lawyer has passed a comprehensive exam on State and Federal law, they’ve had letters of recommendation written by judges, they have undergone a vetting process by his/her peers, and the lawyer has handled a certain number of jury trials, in both Felony and Misdemeanor Court. It’s a very, very good way to find out if you’re in the right office.