Choosing a Harris County juvenile defense lawyer is the most important decision as it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your child's case. Parents of prospective juvenile clients should consider the following factors when selecting a lawyer:
- Experience: Look for a lawyer who has experience handling cases similar to your own. Juvenile law is a complex and specialized area of law, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer will have the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the legal system and provide effective representation. Is the lawyer board certified in juvenile law? How many juvenile cases has the lawyer tried to a jury? How many has the lawyer won at trial?
- Reputation: Look for a lawyer who has a good reputation in the legal community. A lawyer’s reputation can impact the outcome of a case, as judges, prosecutors, and other lawyers may be more likely to take their arguments seriously. Ask juvenile court staff if they know the lawyer and what their reputation is. Read their Google profile and pay attention to their negative reviews. Lawyers who take on more cases than they can reasonably handle are usually reflected in those reviews.
- Communication skills: Look for a lawyer who communicates clearly and effectively. A good juvenile defense lawyer should be able to explain legal concepts in a way that is easy to understand and should keep you informed about the status of your case. Lawyers that do not return calls, come to court very late if at all, or fail to keep clients informed of the status of their cases will usually receive bad reviews to that effect.
- Availability: Look for a lawyer who is available to answer your questions and address your concerns. A good juvenile defense lawyer should be responsive to your needs and should be willing to meet with you outside of normal business hours if necessary. Lawyers who do not return calls timely and are never available after hours or on the weekend are certainly not putting their clients first.
- Strategy: Look for a lawyer who has a clear strategy for your case. A good juvenile defense lawyer should be able to explain their approach to your case and should be willing to discuss alternative strategies if necessary. Many young and inexperienced lawyers are still learning the trade, may not have any or little trial experience, and their approach to your case may be worlds apart from what a reputable trial lawyer can offer, so always talk to several lawyers before making a decision.
- Fees: Look for a lawyer who is transparent about their fees and expenses. A good juvenile defense lawyer should provide you with a clear explanation of their billing practices and should be willing to work with you to develop a payment plan that is manageable for you. Be wary if the fee is too high or too low. Some lawyers may set very high fees to give the impression they are the best when they may only be average and some lawyers that are not reputable may set very low fees because they earn a living handling cases in high volume but provide mediocre legal service.
It is important to take the time to research and interview several potential lawyers to find someone who is the right fit for you and your case.
Does the lawyer answer your answer your most important questions? Does the lawyer rush you off the phone or take the time to truly understand your legal problem?
Ultimately, the most important factor in choosing a juvenile defense attorney is finding someone with whom you feel comfortable and confident.
Contact James G. Sullivan & Associates to consult with a board certified Houston Juvenile Lawyer at (281) 546-6428.