How to Find a New York Criminal Attorney
The most difficult part of finding a good New York criminal attorney is the search process. A person may wonder: What kind of criminal attorney do I need? What kind of experience should this criminal attorney have? What questions should I ask? How much should I pay for a defense? How do I find out the names of the best New York criminal attorneys?
When searching for a New York criminal attorney, remember one thing: the Internet is your friend. In the past, people had no way of researching attorneys, and so people relied on advertising and word-of-mouth. Today, the Internet is the best resource for finding the right criminal attorney for a specific type of case.
You can tell a lot about a criminal attorney based on his website and on online information. A good criminal attorney will have a website, blog, law review articles, publications, and other written work that you can find online. If a criminal attorney has a website with only vague advertising information, he probably did not write any of the content. If the attorney fails to maintain detailed information about the law, fails to publish original research and advice to prospective clients, and fails to discuss legal fees in a straightforward manner—beware!
Why should a potential client care about whether a New York criminal attorney offers free information, advice, or publications online? And why should a potential client care about whether a New York criminal attorney wrote the hundreds of pages of online information on his own website? Because it is a preview of the attorney’s writing ability and dedication to criminal defense. At least 75% of good lawyering happens in motion practice. A criminal attorney’s writing ability is the heart of good motion practice. Also, the online information provides a preview of the criminal attorney’s experience, knowledge, and legal fees.
Additionally, a criminal attorney’s website may demonstrate his technical knowledge, which is important. Today, a criminal attorney must conduct online research and investigation of witnesses, businesses, locations, and databases. A huge amount of useful evidence—including information and documents that may not show up with a routine background check—can be found through online research.
This brings me to a topic worth discussing.
Younger Attorneys vs. “Greybeards”
The changing economy and technology has allowed more young attorneys to compete successfully against established old-school law firms. This trend has caused a division to form between younger attorneys and classic “greybeard” attorneys. Obviously, I am biased because I fall into the first category. However, this section attempts to provide an honest discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of both types of attorneys.
An older attorney (a “greybeard”) will tend to run an old-school law practice. An old-school law practice costs a lot of money to operate, and so these attorneys must charge more money for their services. Many older attorneys have many years of experience and many connections inside of the court system, although these connections help in only a few situations now that most prosecutors follow standardized procedures for prosecuting a case. Older attorneys will charge old-school legal fees, which tend to be higher than the market average.
A younger attorney will know how to use the newest technology to reduce the costs of running a legal practice. These reduced costs allow the younger attorney to charge less money for routine legal matters. A younger attorney will be educated about the newest laws—remember, politicians and courts create new laws every year—and more open-minded about the newest strategies for winning a case. A younger attorney will use the best technology for researching law and investigating witnesses and evidence. Also, younger attorneys will tend to have fewer active cases and can spend more time on each client. Likewise, a younger attorney will be more likely to drag out proceedings or to reschedule court dates (unless it may benefit the defense).
In my experience, many of the best old-school attorneys have failed to keep up with the law of sex offenses
. New York only enacted the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) in 1996, and the legislature has continued to amend it, making sex offenses the most dangerous class of criminal offense for defendants. A New York criminal attorney must keep up with the changing provisions of state and federal laws because a mishandled sex offense can lead to a client spending the rest of his life on the sex offender registry for a minor first offense!
Attorney Ratings Agencies and TV Personalities
If you are reading this website, you probably have seen a dozen other websites by New York criminal attorneys with no helpful information, just a lot of advertising, hype, and TV clips. Also, older attorneys tend to advertise their Avvo or Martindale-Hubbell or “Superlawyer” ratings.
Generally, a prospective client should understand that self-serving hype provides little insight into an attorney’s ability to win a case. Often, it just shows that he spends more time on self-promotion than on law practice. This profession is full of big egos.
Also, the dirty little secret about the attorney “ratings” is that they prove one thing: the attorney paid a lot of money to have friends rate him well and to advertise that rating. Attorneys pay thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands, to have his friends vouch for him. The attorney returns the favor for his friends when they sign up. It is another form of advertising, and it approaches the ethical line of misrepresentation without actually crossing it. In some circumstances, especially high-dollar civil lawsuits, a client may find the “ratings” useful for vetting a law firm. In criminal cases, the “ratings” system is little more than a pay-to-play advertising service. One should view these attorney advertising techniques with a grain of salt.
In the age of mini-cameras, smartphones, and internet-based shows, anyone can post an official-looking video segment of himself “reporting” on an ongoing high-profile case. Many attorneys and even judges aspire to be TV personalities like Nancy Grace or Judge Judy. The widespread use of these techniques speaks to bigger problems in our criminal justice system.
If an attorney tells you that he is “famous,” expect to pay through the nose. Also, be very skeptical.
An attorney famous for winning one big case will offer few advantages to other clients. Sometimes, an attorney well-known for one major case—such as the acquittal of a mafia boss—will hurt your case because most criminal judges used to work as prosecutors! These judges will not be intimidated by a “famous” name and may want to put the attorney in his place by not ruling favorably during the crucial pretrial motions.
If an attorney tells you that he is famous, and his website offers endless testimonials, internet videos, Court TV segments, or other fluff—take the hype with a grain of salt. A talented attorney will win the best results with careful investigation and research and by convincing the judge and the prosecutor that a case is weak, minor, or otherwise not worth the trouble of a trial.
Attorney Advertising: All content sponsored by The Law Office of Adam Bevelacqua, LLC. Although informational, this website may be considered attorney advertising. Every case has unique circumstances, and a person should consult a criminal attorney before taking any legal action.