May 3 2017
We live in the age of Internet advertising.
Just because you see something on the Internet does not mean it is true.
It is improper for any attorney to hold himself out as the “best”.
Unfortunately, the Florida Bar rules of professional conduct do not apply to Internet referral services and marketing companies. Many of these companies claim that their ratings are based on reviews and results. The truth is that these companies sell “advertising” to lawyers and many are referral services who are not bound or obligated to tell the truth. Are “Superlawyers” really super or do they pay for that advertisement? On “Findlaw” for example, lawyers pay to have their ads placed at the top of the listing. There is another company now called “Thumbtack.com” that is nothing more than an “Angies List” that advertises find the “best criminal lawyer”. This is actually real “fake news”. Sadly, you have to take “reviews” with a grain of salt. Is it a real “review” or a manufactured or created review? No reputable criminal defense lawyer will ever hold himself out as the “best” and those that do have a self inflated ego. The truth is that some lawyers have particular experience and particular expertise that gives them a better background to get good results in particular types of cases.
Some lawyers are “ticket” lawyers.
Some lawyers claim to be “DUI lawyers”.
The truth is that not all lawyers are created equal and their level of their expertise varies greatly.
Just because a lawyer is good at advertising does not mean he is necessarily good in the courtroom. Sadly some lawyers will tell you what you want to hear to get hired. They will promise results or claim to have an “in” with the prosecutor’s office. If you hear that type of phony claim, walk away.
The truth is that good lawyers get good results from hard work and knowledge of the law.
When your life and your future are is the line, do your homework. In a sex crime case for example, demand to see a list of the cases actually handled. Would you want a ticket lawyer handling a homicide? Would you want a DUI lawyer handling a tax evasion Federal case?
Experience does matter.
A command of the law does matter.
Being an effective communicator does matter.
A reputation as an aggressive hard working defense lawyer does in fact matter.
Most importantly, having a heart and being compassionate does matter.
An arrest and a pending criminal charge in Sarasota or Bradenton is a stressful situation. A bad decision probably got you into your present situation. Your next decision, the hiring of a lawyer, should not be based on advertisement alone or some phony placement on a Superlawyers, Findlaw, Justia, Avvo or Thumbtack.com list. Lawyers pay for placement on these services.
If you need to hire a good reputable lawyer look for experience.
How long has he been practicing?
Is he admitted to practice in State and Federal Court?
What types of cases does he handle?
Does he have experience as a former law enforcement agent or prosecutor?
How long has he been in private practice defending criminal cases?
There is a world of difference between prosecuting and defending cases and experience in one does not mean the lawyer has experience in the other. Go sit with the lawyer.
Is this the person I want standing beside me in the Courtroom?
Is he really going to handle to case or shuffle it off to someone else?
Some lawyers, some of the biggest advertisers, rarely handle the case themselves but rather are basically referral services. Do you homework when hiring a lawyer…Your life is at stake.