It sounds like you need a good criminal lawyer to defend, as I am assuming that you have been charged with a crime.
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I agree to start with a criminal defense attorney. An experienced one should be very familiar with the prosecutor and judge you've been dealing with.
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Many attorneys will offer free initial consultations. Some will offer payment plans. But handling an entire case pro bono is another matter entirely. This is an issue that comes up a lot on this site, and this is my standard response:
Pro bono work is an important part of the legal tradition. I should know that if anyone does: I served on the Oregon State Bar's Pro Bono committee for three years, and was its chairman in 2011. I have handled several recent pro bono cases, including an ongoing case of great complexity (a grandparents' custody rights case, in fact). So I don't mean to discourage people from seeking out such help, and I certainly don't mean to discourage lawyers from providing it. That said:
The public often has highly unrealistic expectations for pro bono cases. People often think that if they've been injured or are in need, they're entitled not only to complete redress, but also to free help getting it. They think this regardless of whether the injury is legally actionable or not. It is almost never true. For one thing, pro bono work is usually for cases with larger social implications, beyond the immediate effect on the client.
Even pro bono cases are likely to cost the client at least a little bit of money. This is because litigation has considerable expenses that have nothing to do with paying your lawyer. There are costs for postage, copying huge numbers of documents, hiring court reporters and investigators. There are filing fees and other court costs. There are often expert witnesses and other professionals (who generally do not have a pro bono tradition, and don't work for free). In some states, like mine, legal ethics rules prohibit attorneys from paying these costs unless they have a reasonable expectation that they'll be reimbursed. So even pro bono clients will need to advance some money up front.
And there's another reason an attorney might want you to do this: In my experience, people don't value what they don't pay for. A lawyer can put a lot of work into a case, but if they're working all for free, the client may get fed up or frustrated when things don't go their way, and quit, or fail to appear for court, or stop following the lawyer's advice. This wastes all the lawyer's work and can make them look like an idiot before the Court. I am speaking from experience. Litigation is very slow and time-consuming and rarely works out perfectly, and you may be free to walk away at any time without an investment, but your lawyer is not. Our ethics rules require us to meet certain conditions before we withdraw. If you aren't committed to it, you can subject us to a ton of trouble.
It also bears mention that lawyers don't have as much money as you might think. The typical law school graduate today has over $120,000 in student loan debt. Lawyers have to pay Bar license fees, extremely expensive malpractice insurance premiums, and CLE (ongoing education) costs. Lawyers are not near the bottom - we are THE bottom, dead last, in terms of available jobs for professionals. Only 50% of law school graduates can find jobs within the first two years after graduating. So salaries are dropping for firms, and many self-employed solo practitioners (like myself) make less than minimum wage. So we get a bit vexed, being asked to work for free all the time.
You should feel free to ask around. But bear these issues in mind when you ask. You probably wouldn't want to do your own job for free, however urgently someone needed it done.
Now, all that said: It sounds like what you need is not a civil attorney, but a criminal defender. You have the right to be appointed one, at state expense, if you're accused of a crime. If you haven't spoken to an attorney so far, you have the right to ask for one. If you have a lawyer already, take your concerns to them.
Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Online: www.northwestlawoffice.com