You can call the Louisiana State Bar Association for a Lawyer referral. The phone number is (504) 561-8828. Most criminal defense attorneys offer a free 30 minute initial consultation. When you go to the attorneys office bring in all of the necessary paperwork to discuss the specifics of the case. Do not feel obligated to hire the first attorney that you visit. Choose an attorney that you are comfortable with.
You ask a very good question. It's hard to know where to start when everyone looks the same on paper. Starting with avvo.com is a good idea, because it allows you to read what other lawyers and clients think about the attorney you're considering. You should take this to heart. However, there is simply no substitute for meeting an attorney face to face before making any decisions. You need to get an idea about the kind of person you'll be dealing with, because ultimately, you're putting your liberty in their hands. I like to have clients come in for an initial consultation so that they can tell me about their case and so that we can get an idea if we'll be a good fit for each other. Most attorneys will offer a free initial consulation, so take them up on this. You'll get information about the charge your facing and what they can do to help you. Make a list of questions for the attorney, and don't be shy about asking hard questions. What percentage of their practice is criminal defense? How much experience they have with cases like yours? Do they have support staff? Will they be the only one handling your case? At the end of the meeting, you should have a good idea if you've met the right attorney for your case. Good luck.
I know that when a loved one finds themselves in court, the first thought is where do I begin? Not everyone knows a lawyer who is a close friend of the family or is a relative. You might begin in one of two ways, asking friends and relatives if they know anyone they would recommend. The fact that you are in need of a lawyer might be a bit embarassing but you'll be surprised that many relatives and friends might have been in the same position as you and kept it a secret. And therefore, they might have a great person in your area that they would recommend. If that does not lead you anywhere, you might also contact your local county bar association and they have lawyer referral services that will guide you to someone skilled in the area of law your son needs.
Also, I agree with my colleagues in that there is no substitute for meeting a potential attorney in person. As much as the notion of paying a consultation fee might be, you get what you pay for. And the opportunity to discuss in detail every possible question you might have about the process, the case, and the possible outcomes is well worth your time and money. Just because you meet with an attorney does not mean you have to hire them. But it does give you the chance to gain invaluable information about the type of case your son is dealing with and what you and your family are in store for. I also would follow my colleague's advice in that you want to go into your consultation prepared. Take all the paperwork you have pertaining to your son's case and write down whatever questions you might have about the court process, severity of the situation, etc. It is much easier to remember while in your home than it is at the attorney's office when you are nervous. Best of luck!
DISCLAIMER: This does not constitute legal advice but information based upon generalizations.
Reality is that most people have no idea how to pick a criminal defense attorney. I've seen inept lawyers handling serious cases and it makes me lose sleep.
A few bits of advice. 1. The lawyer should practice only criminal defense. 2. Beware of grandiose promises before the attorney has even looked at the police report. 3. Interview with at least three attorneys. 4. Pick who you feel will most comfortable defending you in a manner that you require.
I know it's stressful and I wish you the best of luck.
Any attorney can advertise. Some ads are more impressive than others. However, you can never judge an attorney by his/her ads. The best way to determine the value of an attorney is by asking people who know the attorney's work and are in a position to evaluate the attorney's work. The best sources of information are former clients, judges, and other attorneys. Many judges are reluctant to offer their opinion as to the quality of an attorneys work. Former clients can give good insight to the attorney's abilities. However, it is hard to find a former client unless you personally know somebody who has been represented by the attorney. The easiest way to find out who is the best criminal defense attorney is by calling the offices of attorneys who don't practice criminal law. Generally, an attorney will not refer another attorney to you unless they truly believe in the abilities of that attorney. If you call 3 or 4 law offices you will find out who are the best criminal defense attorneys in your area.