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How do I know if an attorney will put all his effort into my DUI case?

La Mesa, CA |

I recently talked to an old, experienced DUI attorney. I felt like he was indeed experienced, but slightly impatient, and seemed to rush through the consultation (only lasted 20-25 mins). The issue he found did sound promising, but my concern is that whether or not if he is going to put all his effort into my case once I retain him. Plus, wow do I know if he will just pass my case down to his associate once I retain him; I was told that some of old and experienced attorneys tend to do this, which I definitely do not want to see that happening. Would it be silly for me to directly ask him 'Will you put all your effort in my case? Will you pass my case down to your associate?' I really don't want a DUI on my record!!!

Attorney Answers 17


  1. Well, the "pass down" question is a good question, you should get what you are paying for, not a bait and switch, which I agree is often. But sometimes, the younger associate makes some non-essential appearance, but the older attorney does all the substantive work and negotiations. But the "will you put all your effort" question is somewhat silly, even if important. Is the lawyer going really admit "nah, I'm going to phone it in until I've earned my fees and then just plead you out." It's just not realistic. And frankly, if you have any doubt he's going to apply his best efforts, maybe you hired the wrong guy in the first place.

    No legal advice is given here. My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must NOT be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions & Answers forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. I am only licensed in the States of California and New York and the District of Columbia


  2. No ask him and get the answer in writing

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced 39+ yrs. I can be reached at 213-819-1171. I practicein Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. I give only appointments over the phone., these services do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend as I do not believe in pulling punches or sugar coating the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ and I would appreciate it if you feel like marking my answers helpful or best. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are court documents , less expensive.


  3. One of the biggest pieces of successful representation of a client in a DUI is communication with the client. You should know before you retain an attorney exactly what the attorney expects to do for you and what he/she expects from you in return. While ultimately you have to trust your gut at some point, the retainer agreement should have some kind of built in statement regarding your right to terminate the representation of you if you aren't satisfied with the work in the middle of your case. Communication is key, and you should express your concerns up front to the attorney as well. While some of us are very good at reading people (it's a big part of our job with clients, prosecutors, judges, and jurors), we aren't mind readers. Your questions are fair and you have every right to ask them.


  4. You don't know what will happen with your case. You must be comfortable with your attorney . If you are not sure - do not use them. DUI 's are difficult cases. Ask the attorney who is going to handle the trial. Get it in writing.

    Andrew Roberts (818) 597-0633/ (805) 496-7777


  5. as inexperienced


  6. Read reviews and ask the attorney directly. That being said, we can only do so much with the facts some times.

    For a first time DUI, 20-25 is more than enough time to initially evaluate a case...particularly without having the discovery to review.

    Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555


  7. You should ask him. This is a legitimate question. The is often nothing less important than thoroughly knowing the facts and outside mitigating factors.

    877-603-8473 - Peter S. Cameron, Esq. 2445 Fifth Ave. #350, San Diego, CA 92101 - Call 24/7 for a FREE CONSULTATION!


  8. Your question and concerns are completely VALID. I have found that it's always best to listen to one's "gut" in situations like this. If you are uncomfortable with the attorney already, chances are it won't get any better. You should ask him or her directly what time will be put in the case and by who, especially if you are paying hourly. Make it a direct question. If you are feeling rushed or are uncomfortable, find another lawyer, FAST. A DUI is nothing to mess with and you need to get it right the first time when it comes to defense. Good luck


  9. Can't hurt to ask. If he is impatient now, before you've paid him, you can bet that will continue once you do. Best of luck.

    Jasen Nielsen


  10. No, that's not silly to ask him. It's perfectly ok. Of he gets upset, then it's likely a red flag. You are the client, if you are paying an attorney to handle your case, shouldn't they actually do it?

    Any information provided through Avvo.com in response to a question is not, and cannot be considered a formation of any Attorney-Client relationship. Questioner understands that the nature of this system allows only for a cursory review of case information, and more detailed information should not be divulged in this public forum. As such, Questioner is recommended to contact an Attorney in order to discuss the full details of their case and a more specific advisement of potential rights and liabilities.


  11. Trust is the foundation of an attorney/client relationship. If you are initially uncomfortable with an attorney for any reason, then you shouldn't hesitate to keep looking for representation. The defense attorney's role is to act as your legal counselor and advocate. The defense attorney is your advocate in court, making your case to the judge, prosecutor, and, if necessary, to a jury in order to provide you the best result given the situation. Also, the defense attorney should be able to explain how the law applies to the facts of your case so you are able to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to accept a plea bargain or to take the case to trial. If you cannot trust that your attorney will accomplish both roles, then you have hired the wrong attorney.

    Law Office of Andrew Limberg, APLC 380 S. Melrose Dr., #329 Vista, CA 92081 (760) 806-4381


  12. It is not just some of the older attorneys who do this. There are a great any attorneys who advertise heavily, and then when hired, pass off your case to someone younger and less experienced. You SHOULD get a guarantee in writing specifying exactly what is it he will do and what it is that any associate attorney will do for you. As for your 25 minute consultation, please understand that we attorneys have many, many people calling us all day requesting free consultations. 20-25 minutes is a reasonable time to assess the attorney's qualifications. Remember. A free consultation is not an assessment of your case. if ANY attorney gives you guarantees on the results of your case during an initial consultation, run like the wind. He/she is trying to get your money by providing you with a false sense of hope.


  13. I do not practice in your area, but you need to ensure that you are comfortable with the attorney and that you are a good fit with one another. There is nothing inappropriate about asking the attorney if he will be the one handling your case as opposed to handing it off to the "second string." If you find an attorney that has an "AV" rating with Martindale.com, this should reflect that the attorney is well respected by his clients and peers, and has a reputation for being ethical. The best way to find an attorney is through a referral from someone that has already had a good experience. I hope that helps.


  14. You have asked a great question, and those are valid questions. Asking the direct questions you want answers to is not, in any way, silly.

    Choose wisely when it comes to an attorney, and make sure you are getting value for your hard earned money. All the best to you.


  15. I know people outside the field share your concern. You have to ask the attorney questions like:
    * What percentage of cases you take to trial?
    * Will you handle the trial?
    * How have you kept up with the changes in DUI laws and techniques?
    It is key that you hire the best locally experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you that you can afford. You should obtain a free consultation as soon as possible. Good luck.

    Law Offices of Mark Deniz
    1010 2nd Avenue, Suite 2307, San Diego, California 92101 (858) 751-4384
    Free Case Evaluation- Serving all San Diego County. www.denizdefense.com

    This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply


  16. You should always ask these questions during the initial consultation. I can say that often times the police report is what is going to determine how a case is going to proceed. Often times there are issues in the reports that an Attorney can't know about until he or she reads it. It is also true that usually the attorney is being consulted before the reports are available. In the end ask a lot of questions and if any lawyer ever makes any promises about the outcome...GET IT IN WRITING.


  17. Have you read his reviews on sites like Avvo and Yelp? Talked to other former clients of attorneys with knowledge of the way in which he does business.

    Asking directly is fine, but it may be hard to determine how much of his answer to believe. It's hard to imagine that he will say, "you're right, I wasn't planning on doing much work on your case once you paid."

    Best of luck!

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