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I found out my criminal defense attorney is really a bankruptcy lawyer....

Temecula, CA |

when i ask him questions about my case his answers are vague and i can't get any information out of him.

Attorney Answers 5


Many lawyers have more than 1 specialty, and sometimes there's no clear cut answers to legal questions, there are vague-sounding answers like "it depends," because it does depend on the particular facts of the particular case, and in criminal cases, lawyers can only give answers to "what will happen"-type questions based on experience and educated guesses.

Do some reasearch on your lawyer. If they have a website, look at it. If they advertise experience with certain cases, maybe they have case numbers or names you could look up. Look at the State Bar website linked below to see if they have a specialty certification in bankruptcy or criminal law - both are available, but the lack of State Bar certification dosn't mean it's not a specialty of the lawyer's.

Ask for the lawyer for names and case numbers of past cases similar to yours, and ask what happened. Then look at the case files on the court websites, or ask your lawyer for copies of the final documents so you can see the results for yourself.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Well if you can't get any, or even much information out of him, get someone else, whether he practices in 2 areas or just one.

Here's a basic rule: if you reached this level of unhappiness with your lawyer, there's something wrong with (a) him (b) you or perhaps (c) the combination of the two of you together.

You can't change the "you" part of the equation if it's (b) or (c), and if your question is a reasonable recitation of what is going on, it's most likely (a). Get a better lawyer.

To the extent that the first answer is correct, and I'm by no means entirely disagreeing with it, it sounds like your current lawyer could be doing a better job of at least explaining to you why there are no concrete answers yet, and give you some guidance, and perhaps a time range of when he can answer them. For example, when will he get the police report, talk to the prosecutors, etc.

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It is certainly correct that some lawyers have several areas in which they concentrate but criminal law and bankruptcy don't go well together. You should discuss it with your lawyer and if he is evasive you should fire him.

Note that having a state bar license entitles you to practice in any area of the law and allows you to learn new areas. If your attorney is learning criminal law there is nothing wrong with that but if you question his competence he should tell you this is a new area for him.

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1 lawyer agrees


Communication with your lawyer is key. If you have concerns, you must air them with your attorney to get to a comfort level on the relationship. Coordinate with your attorney to check his background. This is your criminal defense and you have to act to protect yourself.

Good luck.

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Real simple. Fire him and find a solid career criminal defense attorney. We are happy to help.

Brian Michaels

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