Your attorneys primary and initial function is to ‘make you a lawyer’ – meaning to make sure that you understand everything that there is to know about your case, the evidence involved and its admissibility/reliability, and the human terrain in your particular Court. Ultimately you are the boss, not your attorney, he/she works you, and not the other way around. And so the big decisions to be made in your case, i.e. whether to go to trial, whether to accept a significant plea reduction, etc., are decisions that you make, not the attorney. And so your attorney sees to it that you have the knowledge and strategic understanding to make these big decisions. Once you have made these decisions, as to which route you wish to take, your attorney then pursues whichever route you have chosen – like a soldier that you can send in any particular direction. The objective that your attorney purses will always be the one that you have chosen. You’re in charge; your attorney just has the know-how.
In any given criminal and/or DUI/OVI case, there are ultimately only two options – to take a reduction of some kind (plea deal), or to go to trial and fight. And just as armies negotiate in the backdrop of what they believe will happen at war, attorneys negotiate in the backdrop of what they believe will happen at trial. Similarly then, the stronger your army looks, the better negotiating position you will be in. The same is true in trial strategy. This is why you will usually hear your attorney speaking to you about the case in terms of what will happen at trial.
Attorney Client privilege
This refers to the right that the client has for his/her communications to their attorney to be held in complete confidence. Nothing that you say to your attorney (and arguably even things that your attorney learns about you from other sources) can be repeated by your attorney to others without your express consent in writing. The point of this privilege is to ensure that you are honest with your attorney. After all, your attorney can only best assist if you if you are honest about your situation. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to lie to your doctor if you wanted appropriate treatment.
This right is held by you– not by your attorney. And the right is nearly absolute; meaning that no one has the right to undercut this privilege, even if your parent wants to know what’s going on, and even if your parent is paying the attorney fee. Many people that I have represented over the years have had their bill paid by their parents or friends, and then those parents/friends want to be entirely privy to the facts and the strategy of the case – doesn’t matter. If the client says that the parents/friends don’t get to know anything, then they don’t get to know anything. If, conversely, you as the client are comfortable with your family and friends knowing everything about your case, you need only express that to your attorney in writing and your family will be kept in the know. You can also pick and chose which areas of your cases can be shared with others.
Scope of your agreement with your attorney
Legal representation often has many potential venues and levels. Your particular legal predicament could potentially exist in more than one court, and could potentially open you up to both civil and criminal liability. There may also be other natural ramifications from third parties, such as your car insurer, your employer, and your parenting rights, (to name just a few). It is important for you and your attorney to iron out which courts/cases he/she is actually representing you in. Your attorney may be a specialist in one area but may need to enlist the assistance of another attorney in others legal areas. Your attorney on a criminal case may need to send you to a divorce or child custody specialist if you have rights/interests that need to be protected in that arena as well. You should make perfectly clear to your attorney, on the front end, the full range of services you are seeking so that your attorney can fully address your needs.
The Attorney(s)’ representation of the Client is limited specifically to the matter(s) agreed to and discussed. The Attorney(s) will represent the Client in connection with the matter(s) agreed to and discussed through settlement or until the entry of judgment after the initial trial level proceedings have concluded. The Attorneys are not obligated to render further services, such as pursuing any collateral claims and other benefits, or answering an appeal from a judgment, taking steps to collect a judgment or award, or participating in any subsequent administrative proceedings, trial, retrials, or appeals.
Our representation does not include representation on independent or related matters that may arise, including, among other things, but not limited to, claims for property damage or loss, civil and/or criminal claims against applicable Police Departments, Worker’s Compensation, disputes with a health care provider about the amount owed for their services, defense of civil or administrative claims/counterclaims, or civil cross-claims or other matters. Client understands and acknowledges that any agreement for legal services for such collateral legal actions must be separately negotiated with Attorneys.
Most retainer fees in criminal cases do not include the filing of, and pursuit of, an appeal. Filing an appeal may be necessary if you and your attorney are unsatisfied with the result that occurs at the trial level and/or if you believe the trial court failed to address some error that occurred. An appeal is almost always an entirely separate undertaking. Appeals taken up by this office are never included as part of the trial level representations and thus must always be separately discussed, priced, and negotiated.
The Attorney(s) in their discretion may need to hire third persons to perform professional services related to your case and/or to testify in court to matters that are generally beyond the common understanding of jurors/courts. We call these professionals expert witnesses. Such persons may include, but are not limited to, court reporters, accountants, economists, doctors, nurses, traffic accident reconstructionists, weapons ballistics experts, experts trained in DNA sampling, field sobriety experts, phlebotomists, and/or a host of other toxicological/chemical testing experts. The Attorneys may also in their discretion employ expert investigators to investigate the facts surrounding the matter. All such experts shall report exclusively to the Attorney(s).
Any such need for any expert witnesses will be approved by the client before the Attorney(s) makes any arrangements for any such expert’s hiring. Fees charged by any such expert witnesses and/or investigators must be provided for exclusively by the Client and thus such funding necessarily then does not come from the retainer fee provided to the Attorney for the underlying representation. Put differently, the point of the attorneys’ retainer is to pay the attorney only.
Other prospective clients out there often read reviews of attorneys online before making a decision as to who their attorney will be. Many prospective clients find these reviews helpful. As such we always encourage current clients to write online reviews, and we have made that process as simple as possible. The links below will allow you to leave written online reviews of your attorney. The links will allow you to both rate the service you received, and explain the reasons for the rating that you gave.