According to several studies, including one discussed by the New York Post, millennials are much more likely than any other age group to lie to get ahead or get out of a difficult situation. While this questionable morality is a problem in general, it has become a serious issue in the world of criminal defense and litigation, where some new attorneys have started to falsify their credentials, case histories, experiences, and more to snag clients. If you are on the market for a criminal defense lawyer, buyer beware.
Talk is Cheap, Walk is Rare
Anywhere you look, everyone talks a good game when they are trying to sell themselves. Sure, marketing is part of any business but truth in advertising is not an option, it is a necessity. We won’t name any one Boston area criminal defense attorneys in specific because we actually understand the law completely and know about libel and slander rules, but let’s just say that there are lawyers in the city who have clearly made lies the centerpiece of their ads. There are even those who say they are federal criminal defense attorneys when, in reality, this practice and its procedures are so complex and nuanced that only a small fraction of all lawyers will ever be actual federal attorneys.
When your freedom is on the line, you need to know you have a real lawyer with real experience on your side. For a Big League game, the coach doesn’t rely on a rookie pitcher; they need someone who has actually pitched good games, won good games, and has been under those lights before. You need someone just like that for your criminal defense case – don’t let yourself be fooled by phonies!
How to Spot a Dishonest Attorney
In the world of criminal defense, no one can go from “fresh off the boat” to “top of their class” in a small stretch of time. But if spotting the lawyers who made these false claims was easy, this cautionary blog entry wouldn’t have to be written. The truth is that dishonest defense lawyers know that their false advertisements are immoral and wrong, so they do their best to hide themselves with the rest of us, the people who have actually taken the time to learn the law and who actually want to help their clients. Thankfully, they can’t hide forever, not if you know what to do.
Before hiring any criminal defense attorney, always ask them these questions:
- How long have you been practicing?
Pretty hard for them to duck this question. Odds are they were just betting on people never questioning their “experience”.
- How long have you been practicing in Massachusetts?
Each state has its own differences in legal precedents and statutes, sometimes small details and sometimes major dissimilarities. If they are new to Massachusetts, your defense will be lacking.
- How many cases have you actually managed (at the level of court in which your case is currently pending)?
Plenty of newcomers to the legal scene like to say that they have “handled hundreds of cases” but this term is as vague and as misleading as it sounds. Anyone can define “handling a case” however they please, so if they just read a case or talked to someone for 1 minute over the phone, they can say they handled it. Find out how many cases they actually accepted, managed, and saw to the end.
- How many actual trials have you had?
Managing a case is one thing but taking it to trial is something else altogether. If you find out that an attorney does nothing but ask for plea bargains, they should not be your legal advocate. At that point, they are more likely to sell you down the river for a fast case closure – and a quick buck from you – than actually fight for your rights.
- Can I see the names and docket numbers of the last five trials you’ve conducted?
This whole article is about watching out for liars and thieves. At some point, you can no longer take their word for what it is and will need to see real evidence of their work. If they say they’ve taken plenty of cases to trial, ask for the proof. Case names and docket numbers don’t lie.
- Can I get copies of recent briefs or motions you have filed?
Now that you are looking for incontrovertible proof of their experience, go one step further and ask for recently filed briefs and motions. A fraudulent lawyer, or one that has little clue as to what they are doing, will not be able to do this for you. Unfortunately, you might be shocked to find that you were a handshake away from hiring a liar, had you not drilled down to the truth.
You Really Do Get What You Pay For
We have actually talked about fraudulent lawyers undercutting well-qualified attorneys in our blog before – click here to give it a read. In addition to straight up falsifying their credentials and experiences, a dishonest criminal defense attorney is probably also going to slash their prices pretty low. But there’s just no price that justifies the value of something that doesn’t work or isn’t effective. You wouldn’t pay $10 for a seat if it collapsed under your weight the first time you sat on it, right? Don’t get cheap now that your freedom is hanging in the balance!
At Brad Bailey Law, our Boston criminal defense attorneys have built a solid reputation for being hard-hitting, honest, and effective lawyers who can actually deliver on their promises. We are nationally recognized by Martindale-Hubbell® for skills and ethics, Attorney Bailey has completed more than 100 jury trials and more than 200 federal cases, and we are routinely featured in the media for our great work on some of the country’s most difficult, high-profile cases. We encourage you to contact us as soon as you can and ask us all about our services, credentials, case results, and so on during your free case analysis. We actually have real-world experience and nothing to hide.