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Is there somewhere i can check an attorney's track record, before hiring them? In other words a scorecard of sorts,

Santa Ana, CA |
Filed under: Litigation

"wins and losses" so that I do not hire the wrong person for my job. This is for a potential criminal matter, and I have surfed through court cases similar to mine, then researched superior court records to see the attorney representing and compared the results to the original complaint. Tedious but I cannot find a better way. I have seen martingale reviews and this site, avvo, but seems to me there must be a better way.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    "Wins and losses" in the criminal setting is hard to gauge. Every case is unique, so every outcome depends on the facts of the case, what legal and factual defenses are available, etc.

    Having said that, what's a "win"? Getting charges dismissed on a legal issue? Winning a motion to suppress evidence? Getting a not guilty verdict at trial? A lesser charge? A favorable plea agreement?

    The only way to really assess attorneys is to do what you are doing - online research, backgrounds of their experience, etc. From there though, it'll take face to face meetings to discuss your case and how the two of you "fit" in a common defense. In your in-person consultations, you can discuss their experience with similar cases, what issues they see and their tentative strategy. Of course, that strategy is always subject to change, depending on how the facts and the case shapes up.

    You can drive yourself crazy by overanalyzing things, but once you've got it narrowed down to your top 3 or so contenders, start setting up consultations and go from there. There's something about the intangible feeling you can gain about people when you meet them.

    Best of luck in the process.

    The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.

  2. No, there isn't a data source or clearinghouse which provides this information. Unfortunately, there isn't a better way other than to take the time to check out references and to do your own research.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

  3. Attorney Chen is correct. There is no single source to which you can turn for this information. You should perform your own research.

    Just as with many things, the best way to hire an attorney is to ask people you know and trust for a recommendation. If you know any civil attorneys, ask them for recommendations for a criminal defense attorney. If you have friends or family who know attorneys, ask your friends and family to ask the attorneys they know. Many civil attorneys are well-acquainted with criminal defense attorneys and can make recommendations based on the nature of the matter.

    Wins and losses are not the best gauge, either. A lot of good criminal defense attorneys lose a lot; they handle major felonies and the like and, unfortunately, their clients are not all winners. Remember the win or the loss is mostly a function of the facts and the client brings the facts with them to the attorney's door. The attorney just tries to deal with the facts the best way he/she can.

    After you get a few names, contact a couple and speak with them. Then make your decision.

    I am licensed only in California and this response is provided as general information only. It is not intended to be legal advice. Legal advice must be based on the exact facts of the particular situation, and by necessity this forum is not appropriate for discussion of specific, exact facts. Contact a lawyer for more specific advice. My answer to your question on AVVO does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  4. Even more important, scoring by wins and losses is a deceptively easy but inaccurate approach even when you can get to the data. Some of the best lawyers lose hard cases, even with the best possible lawyering, and some crappy lawyers win easy cases even though they may arguably be almost brain dead.

    The Martindale rating combined with actual recommendations should be the best approach, combined with your reaction when you meet with someone to discuss your case.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not legal advice but analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in Nevada. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

  5. I agree with my colleagues that there is no "scorecard" source nor would something like that be useful for the reasons mentioned. I write to underscore that the best means to evaluate a potential lawyer is to meet with him/her personally. Anytime a person is looking into hiring a criminal defense attorney, there is something unpleasant going on in that person's life. Accordingly, it is crucial that you be comfortable with the attorney's judgment; your liberty depends on it. If you can ask friends/associates for personal references, that might be a good way to identify potential lawyers. Feel free to interview 2 or 3 and make clear that you are doing so. Good luck.

    I have been licensed to practice in the State of Oregon since 1990. I am not offering legal advice regarding your question, only general information regarding the law. You are not my client nor am I your attorney unless we sign a retainer agreement.

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