How To Choose A Criminal Defense Attorney In NY

Interviewer: What would you say are some qualities in an attorney that someone should look for when it comes to a criminal case?

Glen Malia: Number one is experience. How long have they been practicing law? If a person has been doing it 50 years, you may want to be careful because interview them first and make sure they've still got their mental acuity, because once you get to a certain age you can start losing it. How long they've been practicing. Do they practice door law or is this part of a niche that they're doing? The difference between door law is the lawyer that takes anything that comes in the door whereas the lawyer that sort of niches his or her practice devotes a lot more time, may only, like for me, I focus on three main areas and stuff like that. You may want to find out do they do everything or is this something they do exclusively or as one of just a couple of different areas. No lawyer can know everything.

It is Important To Hire a Local Attorney Who is Familiar With the Local Rules

Truthfully, I think it's important to hire a guy who is local to a certain extent, because they understand the local rules. They know the local prosecutors. They know the local judges. To hire a guy from Peekskill to go up to Albany is a mistake, in my opinion, because it would be like a fish out of water. Just the same, hire a guy from Albany to go to Westchester is a mistake also. There's really no way except actually watching the attorney on trial, to really know whether or not the person is a good attorney. One of the problems with the internet is people go on and research, and there's two different types of things. Some of these websites where you can put on and you can, quote, "Review an attorney." Many attorneys ... I know this for a fact. I know attorneys that do that, they always ask, they make some sort of ... They will request of their satisfied clients, "Please, go put a review for me on my website. I think I did a good job."

Some Disgruntled Clients Who Believe Their Attorney Messed Up May Post Unfavorable Reviews on the Internet

Outside of those type of things, the only reviews you're going to find are the disgruntled clients, the ones who for whatever reason thinks their attorney messed up. In my opinion, you really can't rely upon reviews on the internet, whether it's Yelp, whether it's AVVO, whether it's someplace else, because many of the good reviews are because the attorney basically ask their client, "Can you put a good review on for me" or something like that, and the bad reviews are maybe the attorney messed up or maybe it's just someone that the attorney couldn't do anything for. Maybe the attorney did a great job and the person didn't think they did a great enough job. You never know. An attorney may have two bad reviews but they may have handled 1,000 cases in the last five years. They may be handling 200 cases a year, so they have 998 more-than-satisfied clients. The two people that didn't work out as well for are writing the reviews.

It is Important for a Client to Be Able to Gauge the Knowledge of an Attorney

Talking about the internet, the best way of really finding a good attorney, and I know in the criminal law a lot of people don't like doing this, but is to talk to your friends and stuff like that, people maybe who have had criminal matters or you suspect have criminal matters, people who know lawyers and stuff like that, and when you make an appointment with an attorney, interview the attorney. Get a good feeling as to whether or not the attorney knows what they're talking about. For example, if you're charged with a DWI, go online and research, and it's very easy to find out all the consequences of the DWI, and then when you go meet with the attorney, see if the attorney tells you everything that now, that you know is involved. If the attorney tells you everything and tells you more, you're talking to someone who knows what they're talking about. If the attorney doesn't mention something that's important, then you know you're dealing with an attorney who's either very absent-minded or doesn't know what he's really talking about. Use that as a way of helping determine whether or not the attorney you want to hire is a good attorney.

Malia Law, LLC located in Cortlandt Manor, NY represents Landlords/Tenants throughout Westchester County, Putnam County and Southern Dutchess County, NY.

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