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How to Check a Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Background and Credentials

How to Check a Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Background and Credentials

Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in how your case turns out. You want someone who is experienced, knowledgeable, and who will fight aggressively on your behalf. But how do you know if a lawyer truly has the background and credentials they claim? Here’s some tips on how to do your due diligence before hiring a criminal defense attorney.

Ask Around for Referrals

Word of mouth can be hugely valuable in finding a good lawyer. Talk to family, friends, and colleagues who’ve used a criminal defense attorney before. Find out if they were satisified with the representation and if they’d recommend that lawyer. You can also check with your state bar association’s lawyer referral service – they may provide referrals to attorneys who specialize in criminal defense and who are in good standing.

Verify Licenses and Certifications

Any lawyer practicing criminal defense law needs to be licensed by the state bar association where they work. Look up the attorney on your state bar’s website to confirm their license is current and they’ve had no disciplinary issues. You can also check lawyer directories like Martindale-Hubbell and Avvo which rate attorneys. Make sure any lawyer you consider has certifications like board certification in criminal trial advocacy.

Ask About Their Background

Sit down with any potential lawyer and ask detailed questions about their experience:

  • How long have they practiced criminal defense law?
  • What types of cases have they handled (DUI, theft, assault, etc)?
  • How many jury trials have they done?
  • What are some case results they’ve gotten for past clients?

Avoid any attorney who seems to lack significant experience in criminal defense work. Look for someone who has years under their belt and many trials completed with successful verdicts.

Research Their Education

A reputable lawyer should have a law degree from an accredited university. Ask where the attorney went to law school and verify it. Lawyers who attended top law schools often tout that in their marketing. Also ask if they pursued higher education like a masters degree in criminal law or trial advocacy. These advanced credentials demonstrate deeper knowledge.

Look Into Their Reputation

The legal community in your area likely knows which criminal defense lawyers have the best skills and reputation. Talk to other criminal attorneys or legal professionals and get their take on any lawyer you may hire. Also, check online reviews from past clients – are they overwhelmingly positive? Any serious complaints could be red flags.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Request References

Ask any potential attorney for a list of references such as past clients or other attorneys who can vouch for their abilities and professionalism. Reach out to their references personally to ask how they felt about the representation they received. Also, ask if the lawyer adhered to ethical and professional standards at all times.

Compare Fee Structures

The cost of your defense will vary among different attorneys. Make sure you understand exactly what’s included in their fees and what could incur additional costs. Get fee quotes from multiple lawyers before deciding – a very high or very low quote could signal something amiss.

Trust Your Instincts

Remember, you’ll be working closely with your lawyer throughout the case so make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable with. If an attorney seems too overconfident, unethical or bills themselves as a “miracle worker,” cross them off your list. Go with someone who is realistic, experienced and makes you feel confident they’ll represent you zealously.

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer takes time and diligence. But vetting an attorney thoroughly on the front end can pay off with better legal guidance and more favorable case outcomes in the long run. Don’t rush this important decision – weigh all the factors carefully as you select your legal advocate.

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