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How can I find out how many cases an attorney has won?

Bowling Green, KY |

I want to know how successful my defense attorney has been, but I don't want to offend him and ask directly. He could lie and say he has never lost a case. How can I find out?

Can the state Bar tell me or is this information that isn't published or available to the public?

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Attorney answers 4


I'll let a KY attorney answer whether the KY bar keeps track of win/lose data. My guess, however, is "no." Really good attorneys can lose many cases. Why? They don't make the facts or the law. The government makes the law and the client makes the facts. If they don't line up, the client loses, which means the attorney loses.

You don't say if this is criminal or civil, but since you used the phrase "defense attorney," I'm guessing your matter is criminal. Criminal appeals are notoriously difficult to win. That doesn't mean it doesn't occur, it does. But you should not evaluate your attorney on his win/loss record. You should evaluate him on his experience in appeals in your circuit, in your kind of case.

Lawyers, if asked, will honestly answer with their win/lose information, if they know. Most don't have it memorized because it really doesn't matter.

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.


I assume you are a defendant in a criminal case.
Personally I do not keep any record as to wins or losses as the term is really meaningless. Why? Because there are many ways to win. One can win and have lost the case. For example, if the defendant is accused of murder but the jury returns a verdict of manslaughter, the defendant has a conviction but for a lesser crime. That is a win.
There is a win because the outcome is better than the offer / plea bargain. For example, defendant charged with murder, offer is voluntary manslaughter but verdict is involuntary manslaughter. There is also the idea of convincing a court to reduce [if legally possible] the charges or being able to remove some of the charges by motion [if legally possible].

The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.


Even assuming that the information you want is somehow available, you have to realize that it is a meaningless question and the answer tells you nothing important. The best attorneys, especially in criminal defense and appellate work, are engaged for the hardest cases, and they get licked more often than those who do not face the real challenges. An attorney might indeed claim never to have lost a case, and perhaps it is true. So what? To me it suggests not so much great legal ability as a practice that keeps to the safe side. You would do much better to look for a defense attorney who enjoys a well-established reputation among other lawyers.


You can search his name in a legal research data base, such as Westlaw or LexisNexis, but that will yield only cases in which formal written decisions were published. This approach is more useful for an appellate lawyer than for a trial lawyer. Beyond that, I agree with the other lawyer who said a win/loss record for a trial lawyer (especially criminal) is a meaningless statistic: Cases are concluded in many different ways for many different reasons. The TV lawyers who take every case to trial and win are just stories for entertainment--they are not reality.