Mr. Snader over promised and under delivered and was extremely rude and arrogant. Oh, he was nice enough until we signed the fee documents, but after the down payment was made and the commitment completed he was very short tempered, acted very put-out when we asked questions about my case and was generally very ill-tempered. He had a case load that was too big to manage, he got names, dates, jails mixed up. The plea deal we got was NOT what Mr. Snader promised when we hired him and was nowhere near the outcome he told us to expect. He spent more time arguing and being adversarial with his clients than fighting for us. His paralegal, Merril, was very professional & helpful, but overall our experience was very disappointing and very expensive. We could have gotten the same (or perhaps a better deal) with a public defender.
Response from Howard Snader May 29, 2013
Several concerns have been raised. I will try to deal with them in the order they have been presented. First, it was claimed that I over promised and under delivered. The only promise I make to clients is that I will bust my behind to represent them and that I have the knowledge and experience to represent them zealously and with expert advocacy. In more than 20 years as defense counsel and having defended thousands of cases, I don't make any promise regarding an outcome. I can only explain the likely outcomes based on my experience. But each case is unique and the outcomes are controlled by the facts of the case, the prosecutor and the judge involved. Second, it has been claimed that I was rude and arrogant. As I need to occassionally remind clients, I do have a bedside manner that is blunt and to the point. If a client does not like be told the facts and opinions in a straightforward manner, they need to tell me at the time I am representing them. Instead, at least in this case, the client has waited 1-3 years to bring this to my attention. Meryl is a wonderful assistant who does need to frequently smooth my blunt statements and make the client feel better. My job is to present my client's case as an advocate: someone who can aggressively make the arguments on behalf of the client. As a litigator, I need to believe I can win every case. My clients would demand nothing less. To many clients, that may come of as arrogant. To the majority of client's I have represented, it comes off as confidence. Third, this client indicates that my case load was to big to manage. In 20 years, that has happened on two occasions. And, I am ethically bound to not take cases when I am too busy. On the two occasions it happened, both were in the mid-1990's at a time I was involved in 3 back to back trials, each of which went 3-4 months. I have never been accused of mixing up names, dates, or jails. So, I am sorry. But I have no idea where that statement is coming from. As for jails, they move inmates all the time without notice. Fourth, it is argued the plea was not what was promised when retained. As already noted, I don't promise outcomes when retained. I may discuss likely outcomes based on my experience. But, defendant's are not entitled to a plea offer. Although plea offers are normally made, I can't promise a certain plea will be made. I have trouble dealing with a complaint from an unidentified client made 1-3 years after the case is completed. All my fee agreements are in writing and contain a provision that allows for the possibility that I can be fired and client's may be entitled to a refund. I am unsure why now, this client has elected to submit a complaint that I was adversarial. If true then, it should have been brought to my attention and dealt with either by resolving whatever issue there was between myself and the client, or terminating my relationship. Finally, I will match my results against any public defender any day. I am sorry that you are now expressing your disappointment in this manner and in this forum.