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How to Find the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer

Searching for a Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you are charged with any crime, whether it is a traffic violation, misdemeanor, or felony, you should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight to get the charges dismissed or reduced. This can be challenging if you do not know any criminal defense lawyers. In addition, you do not have a lot of time to hire an attorney. An attorney can begin investigating your case and attend any hearings with you regarding your criminal case. How do you find an experienced attorney that is right for you?

What to Look for When Retaining a Criminal Defense Attorney

You have a number of options for obtaining the names of possible attorneys to contact. If you have used an attorney you liked in the past who does not practice criminal law, he may know an experienced colleague to refer you to. You can also check with friends and family members to see if they have used a lawyer that they would recommend. Your state bar referral service or an Internet search are other options. When searching on the Internet, you want to review attorney websites carefully and look for helpful articles on criminal law, successful case results, and client referrals or testimonials.

While you may not have time to do extensive research, you do need to research a few possible lawyers and interview them. These are key areas to focus on when deciding if an attorney is right for you:

  • Experience. It is essential that the attorney has extensive criminal defense experience, including handling charges similar to yours. The laws and procedures in criminal cases are different than in civil cases, and you need an attorney who understands the laws.
  • Local attorney. It can often be an advantage to retain a local attorney who has a relationship with the judges and prosecutors that could be involved in your case and is familiar with local court rules and procedures.
  • Track record of success. You want an attorney who has a track record of success in both negotiating plea agreements and taking cases to trial. While many criminal cases are resolved through a plea bargain, some are not. Your attorney should understand the importance of a thorough investigation and should not be afraid to take your case to trial if this is in your best interests.
  • Communicative skills. Having a lawyer who is willing to explain things to you and who does so in a way that you understand is critical. It is important to work with an attorney who you have confidence in and trust. The best way to determine this is to interview a few attorneys. You also want to find out how often they will communicate with you during your case and the best way to contact them.
  • Fees. While you should not base your decision on which attorney to hire only on the attorney fees that they charge, this will be a consideration. When researching attorneys, you should find out how much they will charge you.
  • References and reviews. You should obtain references—either through people recommending an attorney to you, from former clients, or from reading reviews on third-party online sources.

Interview Questions to Ask an Attorney

Once you have narrowed your choice of attorneys to two to three, you want to take advantage of the free consultation that many criminal defense attorneys offer. You should come to the appointment with a list of questions. Here are some questions that you will want to ask:

  • How much of your practice focuses on criminal defense?
  • How many cases have you handled that are similar to mine?
  • How many criminal cases have you taken to jury trial? What was the outcome?
  • What attorney fees do you charge?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case? What do you see as the likely outcome?
  • Who else besides you will be working on my case?
  • Who do I contact if I have questions about my case? How quickly will I receive a response?

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charlotte, NC?

If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online to schedule your free consultation.

May 16, 2022 /
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Importance of Hiring Criminal Defense Lawyer

Importance of Hiring Criminal Defense LawyerIf you were arrested, you likely scared and unsure of where to turn for help. It is important to stay calm, avoid reactionary or antagonistic behavior, and contact a skilled Minnesota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The following list highlights just some of the reasons it is important to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is you are charged with a criminal offense:

  • A criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that warrant requirements are met. There are generally two types of warrants that apply to criminal cases – an arrest warrant authorizes a police officer to arrest the person or people named in the warrant, and a search warrant authorizes the police to search evidence at a defined location at a specified time. The legal scope, requirements, and limitations of arrest warrants and search warrants are incredibly complicated with several nuances and exceptions that may apply given a specific situation. A criminal defense lawyer can help ensure that the requirements of an arrest warrant are satisfied and that any evidence obtained without a proper search warrant is excluded from the record.
  • A criminal defense lawyer can help you make bail. If you are arrested, one of the first court proceedings that you will attend is the Bail Hearing, during which the judge will determine what bail should be required to permit release pending resolution of the charges. A criminal defense attorney can advocate on your behalf for a reduction of the bail amount and help you make arrangements for obtaining the funds to make bail.
  • A criminal defense lawyer will help you avoid any unnecessary and harmful statements. If you are arrested, you must be advised of your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. A defense lawyer can represent you during any police questioning and ensure that your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent is protected. If any evidence or testimony is obtained in violation of the Fifth Amendment, a criminal defense lawyer will seek to exclude the ill-gotten evidence or testimony from the record.
  • A criminal defense lawyer understands the nuances and complexities of the charges that you are facing. Criminal laws – and a defendant’s constitutional rights – are complicated and complex. Even those criminal laws that seem relatively straight-forward can have several exceptions or nuances. A criminal defense lawyer can explain these nuances to you and advise you on your legal rights and options in light of the criminal code.
  • A criminal defense lawyer understands the criminal justice system. Because a criminal defense lawyer understands the way that the criminal justice system works, he or she is well-equipped to handle the court proceedings and guide you through the legal process from start to finish while advocating on your behalf for a dismissal or reduction of charges.

Contact a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges in Colorado, the criminal defense lawyers at JJ celder Law have the experience and skill you need. We are committed to protecting our clients’ rights, reducing or eliminating penalties, and providing knowledgeable legal advice. We maintain constant communication, via phone and email, and treat all of our clients with the utmost respect and dignity. Moreover, we are available to our clients any time, day or night, to handle any pressing legal concerns.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Criminal Lawyers Colorado.

March 30, 2022 /
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6 Tips on How to Market Your Criminal Defense Attorney Practice

Every day, countless people search for criminal defense lawyers. While that sounds great on paper, competition for clients can be vicious. If your legal practice doesn’t appear near the top of the first page of search results online, you’re not very likely to be noticed. So, how do you ensure that you’re reaching potential new clients?

You need a solid marketing strategy to acquire clients. Not only do you need your name to appear at the top of online search results pages, but you also want your name getting out to prospects via word of mouth. Potential clients need to see you and be able to trust you before they contact you.

Here, we’ll cover some strategies for criminal defense attorney marketing that will help you get noticed and turn more prospects into real clients.

1. Build a User-Friendly Website

The internet is generally the first place people go when they need a criminal defense attorney. Your website becomes the first impression you leave with potential clients.

You want to present the right image and deliver a compelling message. It’s no different than when you step in front of the jury. An aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly website that provides valuable information will make all the difference.

2. Create Quality Content

Creating high-quality content that provides visitors to your website with useful, relevant information helps to boost your authority as a criminal defense attorney. Create blog posts or videos that answer some of your most frequently asked questions, discuss factors that could affect court proceedings, or cover changes in the law. Be sure to update content regularly.

3. Optimize for Organic Searches

Just having a website and a blog isn’t enough to help you rank higher in the search engine results pages. You also need to rely on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

To boost your SEO using digital content:

  • Research keywords related to your practice and incorporate them naturally into your content.
  • Include location-based keywords to boost organic local searches.
  • Place keywords strategically within your web pages, title tags, metadata, and blog content.
  • Write blog posts that expand upon specific search queries.

Your website’s user-friendliness will also affect traffic; make sure it loads quickly and is mobile-friendly. Also, be sure to update your Google Business Profile (GBP) page; verify your listings, accurately fill out the information, and include images of your practice, yourself, and anyone else who works with you to humanize your law firm — completing GBP will also make you more likely to show up on Google Maps.

4. Encourage Reviews

Never be afraid to ask your current and previous clients to leave reviews on Google or other review sites such as Yelp. When searching for lawyers, people base their decisions on what other people have to say. While not everyone will leave a glowing review, garnering mostly positive feedback helps to build trust. How you respond to negative reviews will also make a difference in how potential clients view your practice.

5. Generate Word-of-Mouth Recommendations 

People talk. Even in the digital age, sometimes word-of-mouth recommendations are the most effective.

Suppose someone needs legal advice about a DUI. They talk to one of your previous clients. The previous client had an excellent experience working with you, so they recommend you — earning you new business.

There are other old-fashioned ways of getting your name out there:

  • Attend free networking events and bring your business card to hand out.
  • Host a free lecture or series of lectures.
  • Take on pro-bono work or volunteer your services.
  • Participate in community events, which can also help to get backlinks and improve your SEO.

6. Get on Social Media

Social media offers a powerful way for businesses to establish and build their reputations. Using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter helps you share information with a broad audience and attract potential clients to your website.

Posts don’t have to be directly promotional; you can share snippets from your blog or video posts, ask questions to encourage engagement, or share something related to criminal defense law. Be sure to post regular updates and interact with your followers.

Get Your Criminal Defense Practice Noticed

When it comes to marketing for criminal defense lawyers, having a website and maintaining active social media profiles are excellent places to start. But competition for legal clients is stiff, and a solid, ongoing marketing strategy is a must if you want potential clients to find and contact you.

To up your game and learn more tips on how to successfully market your criminal defense practice,

visit our services page today. 

March 11, 2022 /
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The Benefits Of Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer

It is devastating to find yourself accused of criminal charges, whether you are innocent or not. Criminal charges carry consequences that may change your life and the lives of your loved ones. It is a basic right for everyone to get a fair shot at defending themselves. For that right to be effective, however, in a foreign and complex system such as our criminal justice system, it is imperative that skilled legal counsel be employed to navigate the deep and powerful currents that a criminal defendant must face head-on.

These involve extensive paperwork and court or jury trials which often appear to laypersons to illustrate the theater of the absurd. Do not allow yourself or your loved ones to sail into such a maelstrom of legal complications and mishaps without an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be dedicated to protecting your rights and supporting you legally in every way possible.

Experience Matters In Criminal Law

Courtroom sessions and trials can be intimidating, but criminal defense attorney Raoul Severo will work to ensure that this process does not feel overwhelming. He has been defending the accused in California for more than 40 years. Attorney Severo’s work is to take care of the serious matters of your case and remove the heavy burden off of your shoulders.

How can a criminal defense attorney help?

  • They work to protect your rights and interests.
  • They have expertise in defending the accused gained from a lifetime of experience in the criminal justice system, using time-tested strategies that work to eliminate or lessen your legal jeopardy.
  • They protect you against heavy penalties, including crippling fines.
  • They have experienced staff to whom they can delegate important work.
  • They provide constant moral and emotional support as you face what may be a life-changing experience.

Our Constitution confers upon every individual many rights that must be aggressively asserted when fighting for your freedom in a criminal case. It is crucial that these rights be protected at all times, especially in cases that involve weapons, sex offenses, drugs, cyber-crimes, murder, assault or other serious criminal charges. Attorney Raoul Severo is dedicated and committed to protecting your legal and constitutional rights.

Mr. Severo is a highly experienced, qualified, and knowledgeable attorney who will assert the legal rules and arguments that you or a less-skilled legal counsel is unlikely to be aware of. He and his team will go the distance in order to ensure your case comes to a desirable resolution. To do so involves a painstaking process of gathering sufficient evidence and statements from direct lay witnesses. It also involves hiring expert witnesses and investigators who will present evidence that will rebut that evidence presented by the prosecution and, in the end, obtain the desired result, proving your innocence.

Attorney Raoul Severo understands that all the seemingly small details can make a significant difference in your case.

Taking the action to contact us early will go a long way in ensuring that the criminal charges are dropped or reduced. Our firm is committed to providing aggressive representation in all matters that involve criminal cases.

Start With A Free Consultation

To discover how the JJ Celder Law,  can make a positive difference in the outcome of your case, we invite you to schedule a free consultation.

February 18, 2022 /
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Different Types of Elder Law Attorneys

Elder law is focused on addressing the issues faced by people over the age of 55 and their families. The practice of elder law involves preparing each client to deal with the complex issues that arise as we grow older. There are also many legal options available to manage future age-related mental or physical disabilities that are mentioned in this guide to elder care law. Elder law covers the following topics:5 Smart Tips for Hiring an Elder Law Attorney – DailyCaring

  • Probate and Estate Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Wills and Testamentary Trusts
  • Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
  • Living Trusts
  • Durable Powers of Attorney or Health Proxies
  • Guardianships for Minors or for Incapacitated Adults
  • Conservatorships
  • Living Wills or Health Directives
  • Asset Management
  • Contract Review
  • Medicaid Assistance
  • Taxes
  • Real Estate Issues
  • Retirement Planning

While an attorney that focuses on elder law will be able to help you with any of the above tasks, the two most important things an elder law attorney does is helping to create trusts and avoid probate.

Trust Attorneys

When creating an estate plan, ensuring that your assets will be divided up and distributed to your family members, friends, or charitable organizations is one of the most important aspects of the process. Aside from wanting to secure your family’s financial future, creating specific DC trust documents will help you maximize tax benefits while also avoiding the costly and time-consuming probate process.

If you are looking to create a new trust or revise existing trusts, Antonoplos & Associates attorneys are here to help. Over the past two decades, we have worked to create thousands of individualized trust plans for our clients that have collectively saved them millions of dollars.

Helping you Decide On the Proper Trust

Many DC law firms will push a single package of DC trust documents that they are comfortable with during estate planning. However, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all trust. With over 20 years of experience, Antonoplos & Associates attorneys have the knowledge necessary to use a number of revocable, irrevocable, and specialized trusts available to cater to your individualized needs. Finally, our trust attorneys can help you determine the proper trust for your estate plan. We begin this process by explaining the differences between the following options:

  • Spendthrift trusts
  • Family trusts
  • Living Trusts and wills
  • Last will and testaments
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Life insurance trusts
  • Qualified personal residence trusts
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Offshore trusts

Our attorneys strive to understand your specific situation. As such, we work closely with your family in order to understand each and every detail associated with your estate. After we gather all the relevant information, we combine our legal, accounting, and tax knowledge to create DC trust documents that perfectly fit your needs and goals.

Probate Attorneys

A probate lawyer can take care of or help the estate with many legal issues. However, the majority of what a probate lawyer does will largely depend on whether the estate going through probate has a will.

When There Is a Will

If someone dies with a will, a probate lawyer will typically focus on advising members of the estate such as the executor, personal representative, or beneficiary on legal issues. For example, a probate attorney might help the estate by reviewing the principal’s will to ensure that the principal did not sign or create the will under duress. This is a significant portion of the process as if someone challenges the will during the probate process, the court will have to stop what they are doing and have a formal hearing where they review the validity of a will.

When There is No Will

If someone passes away without creating a will, the person is said to have died “intestate.” If you die under the intestate definition, the administrator of the estate will have to distribute all the assets within an estate according to a state’s intestacy laws. If this occurs, the assets will not be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the principal’s wishes. For example, if the person who dies has a spouse, the spouse will likely receive all the estate’s assets. However, each state has different intestacy laws so the distribution of assets to family members could vary widely.

In cases of intestacy, a probate attorney will typically assist the administrator of the estate with distributing the assets within the estate according to the laws of the state. A probate attorney must still follow the state laws regarding the distribution of assets. However, having someone with knowledge of these laws is invaluable. The reason for this is that they can ensure that the assets are distributed and done so without breaking any state laws.

Finally, a probate attorney can help someone secure and file the documents required for a probate court to appoint someone as the administrator of the estate. For a court to name someone as the administrator of an estate, the person must secure “renunciations”. Renunciations come from the other relatives of the person that died. A renunciation is simply a legal statement renouncing one’s right to administer the estate.

Dealing with Creditors and Beneficiaries

A probate attorney can be especially helpful when dealing with creditors or other beneficiaries. Initially, the court appoints a personal representative to an estate. Once this occurs, a Notice of Appointment, Notice to Creditors, and Notice to Unknown heirs must be published by the personal representative in local newspapers where the principal of the estate lived. After this, creditors to the principal will have six months after the first publication to file claims against the estate. Once this period passes, creditors cannot bring forth claims. A probate attorney will help you notify creditors by ensuring that you make an informative ad and place the ad into the proper newspapers to avoid a creditor bringing litigation against you or the estate.

A probate lawyer can help you while you are dealing with creditors to an estate. However, they are even more useful when working with other beneficiaries of the estate. If everyone that is a beneficiary to an estate gets along, the process of distributing assets can be informal. In this scenario, a lawyer may not always be necessary. However, if you are a personal representative of an estate that has unsatisfied beneficiaries, a lawyer will be extremely useful to make or advise you on when to write letters, send emails, and make phone calls. By having a lawyer assist you with this portion of your duties, you will eliminate the opportunity for beneficiaries to bring forth any legal action against you.

Final Thoughts

Creating an estate plan for yourself or your family members is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed in the event you pass away or become incapacitated. Without a properly completed estate plan, your assets will go through DC probate court. Not only is this process costly from associated legal fees, however, probate is also time-consuming. A probate court’s job is to gain information on how to distribute your assets. Furthermore, DC estate planning includes key documents that allow you to state your medical wishes in case you become incapacitated. This portion of the documents not only allows you to choose your care, however, it also takes the pressure off your family as they do not have to make life-altering. Our firm has many experienced DC lawyers providing elder law services to clients in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

DC estate planning is a major practice area at Antonoplos & Associates. As such, we have the comprehensive knowledge necessary to efficiently execute each required document and can help you move past any potentially difficult legal issues. Not only do our attorneys have over 20 years of experience with DC elder law services. However, we also merge our estate planning with our tax and accounting expertise. This allows us to give you high-quality services in a cost-effective effective manner.

Regarding elder law, many believe that the ideal solution is to put all money and assets in trusts. While many law firms may prescribe this plan, at Antonoplos & Associates, we give each client the individualized attention necessary. By doing so, other options may be explored that are more aligned with a family’s wishes.

January 25, 2022 /
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Boutique Law Firms: What They Are and Why You Should Run One

As a legal professional, you’ve probably heard the term “boutique law firm” many times. You may have also noticed more and more lawyers choosing to work at—or run—boutique law firms. But what is spurring the increasing interest in boutique law firms vs. Big Law? Could a smaller, boutique law firm be a good fit for your future?

In this post, we’ll discuss what a boutique law firm is (and what it isn’t) and explore the differences between boutique and Big Law firms. We’ll also lay out some of the benefits of working at a boutique firm and why you might consider running a smaller firm.

What is the difference between boutique law firms vs. Big Law?

Their names say it all: The most obvious difference between Big Law and boutique law firms comes down to size. Boutique firms are smaller and more specialized. Big Law firms are larger in terms of the number of employees and lawyers, and in the wide array of legal services they offer.

Key areas where boutique and Big Law firms differ include:

small law firm team
  • Staff size. Boutique firms have fewer people on staff than Big Law firms. Generally, boutique firms employ lawyers, paralegals, and law clerks. In contrast, Big Law firms also have administrative teams.
  • Range of legal services. Large law firms are structured to cast a wide net strategically, offering a range of legal services to clients. Conversely, small boutique firms offer services in more concentrated areas.
  • Lawyer experience. At Big Law firms, levels of experience tend to be mixed as less-experienced attorneys work their way up. Because boutique firms are more concentrated, the principal attorneys need to be more experienced with a high level of knowledge in the firm’s practice area(s).
  • Client selection. Boutique law firms tend to be more selective when taking on clients than Big Law firms. Because boutique practices have a more concentrated focus, not all clients will be a good fit.

What are the benefits of working in a boutique law firm?

The goal of young attorneys used to be straightforward: Finish law school and land a role at a Big Law firm. But with the world moving to more remote work, advancements in legal technology, and a greater focus on attorneys’ work-life balance, the goals of many legal professionals have shifted. While working for a Big Law firm still carries a certain amount of prestige, for some attorneys, the benefits of working in a boutique law firm outweigh the thrill of a Big Law business card. Here are a few:

1. Targeted focus

law firm focus

Are you passionate about and do exceptional work in a certain area of the law? If so, choosing a legal niche and working at a boutique law firm in that area can bring you great satisfaction and opportunities to develop and grow your career.

2. Increased impact on the firm’s direction

At a smaller, boutique practice, it’s easier to have your voice heard when it comes to business decisions that impact the firm.

3. More flexibility with fees

When you’re offering a higher level of expertise and client service, you can set your fees to reflect that level of service. Moreover, smaller boutique firms generally have more flexibility with what they charge. This means you could offer alternative fee structures when it comes to law firm pricing.

Read more about pricing and payment models for small law firms with this guide to effective small law firm management.

4. Stronger client relationships

legal clients

As mentioned, one of the big differences between Big Law and boutique firms is that boutique firms tend to be more selective when taking on clients. With fewer cases to manage and a more specific client base, lawyers at boutique firms can focus more on delivering personalized, client-centered service to the clients that they can help best.

Why should you run a boutique law firm?

If you’re thinking of starting a boutique law firm or rebranding your legal practice, there are many factors to consider. Here are four reasons why you might consider running a boutique law firm:

1. You’re entrepreneurial.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to take on the work that comes with running a law firm, you can create a small, focused legal practice in your vision with a boutique law firm.

Take the case of Cynthia Morgan-Reed, who left the traditional law firm path after two decades to start her small virtual firm, Vanst Law. By starting her practice, Cynthia could then develop a new business model—and create the flexible, equitable law firm she wanted to work at herself.

2. You have a lot of experience.

If you have a lot of experience in a specific area, a boutique law firm could be a good fit. With a boutique law firm, your clients can benefit from your expertise. In exchange, you’ll be able to do work that you find meaningful and interesting.

It’s important to note that a boutique law firm is usually made up of more experienced lawyers. Because boutique law firms are small and focused on specific areas of law, they tend to work best when helmed by lawyers with a great deal of experience to offer.

3. Lower costs.

While the concept of a boutique law firm may sound expensive, the cost of running a boutique firm can be lower than a traditional, larger firm. Because boutique firms are smaller, there’s generally lower overhead, personnel, and administrative costs. You can also keep firm costs down by being more efficient by using tech tools. 

4. Today’s technology can help.

lawyer working on laptop

In the past, working at a Big Law firm meant you wouldn’t have to worry about time-consuming administrative tasks that are required to run a law firm. But by using the right tech tools for lawyers, smaller firms can cut down significantly on manual administrative work—even without the help of a Big Law admin team.

As Kate Colleary of Dublin’s Colleary & Co. explains, for example, using Clio’s legal practice management software to simplify administrative work made it easier to open her firm specializing in intellectual property and privacy/data protection.

Here are a few examples of tools that could make running a boutique firm more efficient:

  • Practice management: Legal practice management software like Clio Manage automates day-to-day administrative tasks, simplifies billing, and keeps cases organized.
  • Client intakeClio Grow’s client intake software automates the client intake process and redundant tasks like email followups and data entry. With Clio Grow, small law firms can save time while providing clients with a more streamlined client experience.
  • Receptionist services. A small law firm may not have an in-house receptionist but can still ensure that client calls are answered with the help of a virtual receptionist service.

Learn more about how to choose the best tech tools for your firm.

A boutique law firm may be right for you

Whether you’re thinking about taking your legal career in a new direction or you’re wondering if you should rebrand your law firm, boutique law firms are a viable option to consider.

Boutique law firms are small and more focused on specific practice areas. While that narrow focus may seem limiting when compared to the broader catch-all approach of Big Law firms, that tight focus can offer several benefits. These benefits include freedom for experienced lawyers to build expertise, exceptional client experiences, and the opportunity to run a more nimble, entrepreneurial business. And, because today’s legal technology removes many of the administrative barriers that existed in the past, small firms can run effectively and efficiently without a large staff on payroll.

Note: The information in this article applies only to US practices. This post is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, business, or accounting advice.

January 19, 2022 /
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Things to Consider if You Need an Elder Law Attorney

As we age, we often find ourselves facing new and more complex issues than when we were younger: estate planning, disability, health care, retirement, taxes, and financial planning issues may arise in the senior years. Planning for the senior years can be confusing and difficult without the correct information, and simple situations can rapidly turn into complicated and expensive challenges without good advice.5 Smart Tips for Hiring an Elder Law Attorney – DailyCaring

It is important to know your rights and seek counseling and advice when needed. When dealing with legal issues that pertain to the elderly, you may consider seeking guidance from a lawyer who is certified in elder law.

What do elder law attorneys do?

Elder law attorneys are advocates for the elderly and their loved ones. Most elder law attorneys handle a wide range of legal matters affecting an older or disabled person, including issues related to health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and other important matters. They help by:

  • Evaluating the client’s needs relating to federal tax, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and property laws
  • Preparing trusts and wills
  • Determining the best way to pay for long-term health care including private duty home care
  • Assisting with disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts, and living wills for financial management and health care decisions
  • Setting up conservatorships and guardianships
  • Offering counseling on the distribution of public and private retirement benefits, survivor benefits, and pension benefits
  • Assisting the client and their family make emotionally difficult decisions, such as those related to end-of-life

Most elder law attorneys do not specialize in every one of these areas, so it’s important to find out which of these matters they are equipped to handle. You will want to hire an attorney who has experience in and knowledge of your specific area of concern, yet who also knows enough about the other fields to question whether the action being taken might be affected by laws in any of the other areas of law. For example, if you are going to rewrite your will and your spouse is ill, the attorney needs to know enough about Medicaid to know whether it is an issue with regard to your spouse’s inheritance. The Medicaid and Medicare systems are complex and evolving, so your attorney should have an in-depth understanding of the system’s federal laws as well as those of your state.Things to Consider if You Need an Elder Law Attorney

How do you find an elder law attorney?

If you’d like to find an elder law attorney, you can check with the National Academy of Elder law Attorneys, Inc., or NAELA.  It is as a professional association of attorneys who are dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to people as they age and people with special needs. Another such organization is the Special Needs Alliance.

Due to elder laws, many state and local agencies receive grants to offer services such as support groups and counseling. If you don’t feel it’s necessary or affordable to hire a lawyer, these organizations can usually advise on elder law topics and suggest services that may be helpful. You can also check with your town’s senior services or the Internet for local and state agencies that may be able to help you.

January 12, 2022 /
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Tips to Help You Find the Best Criminal Defense Attorney

Meeting with Criminal Defense Attorney

If you already understand the importance of having an excellent attorney when you’re facing a criminal charge, the next step is finding the best criminal defense attorney to represent you. Not all lawyers are created the same, and finding the right attorney can make all the difference when it comes to putting up the best defense possible.

Taking the time to seek out the best defense attorney can ensure you are represented in the best light possible when you go to court. Although the process of searching for a lawyer can seem daunting, especially when dealing with the repercussions of a criminal charge, this is arguably one of the most important steps of the entire case. Here are ten tips to help you find the best Las Vegas criminal defense attorney.

1. An Attorney Should Be Responsive

When you’re facing a criminal charge, time is of the essence. Time lost is a case lost. You need a criminal defense attorney that’s going to get to work on the case right away.

When you contact a lawyer, they should respond quickly. Their legal team should be able to arrange a meeting with you within one day. If they’re quick to answer your phone call or email, they’re probably going to be equally on the ball when it comes to defending you.

2. The Right Attorney Specializes in Criminal Law

Although they don’t have to practice criminal law exclusively, the right attorney at least specializes in criminal law. If you don’t see anything on the attorney’s website about criminal law, it’s likely that they’re not the right lawyer for your needs.

The practice of law is just that — practice. Your attorney needs regular involvement in criminal law to stay up to date on the nuances of this type of law and the best possible defenses.

3. Choose Someone Experienced in the Local Courts

In addition to finding a lawyer that’s qualified in criminal law, you should look for an attorney that’s experienced in the local courts. This aspect of deciding on the right attorney is one that is often overlooked, but local connections and relationships can go a long way when fighting a criminal charge.

Not only does each court do things their own way, but each judge does things their own way too. Knowing the ins and outs of the court you’re up against can help you create a winning strategy for your case.

4. Check Reputable Sources

You can learn a lot about an attorney on the internet. Some of these sources are reputable, and some are not. You can check the State Bar of Nevada to see if a lawyer has any formal discipline on their record. This is a good place to start, but your research shouldn’t stop there.

Some websites like Google+ and Facebook don’t let attorneys remove bad reviews, so these websites can be a good place to look at what other clients have to say. Other sites help attorneys paint a rosy picture. While you don’t want to count an attorney out because of one bad review, reading reviews can give you a general idea of what other clients have to say about them and their services.

5. Ask for Referrals

One of the best ways to find the right attorney for you is to ask your friends and family if they know any good lawyers. Those with first-hand knowledge of how an attorney operates can help offer you insight into how they will handle your case.

Also, if you use a lawyer for business or estate planning matters, you can ask them who they recommend for a criminal case. Word of mouth can be a great way to get an honest opinion especially when the person you’re asking wants what’s best for you.

6. The Right Attorney Knows the Basics Off the Top of Their Head

An attorney doesn’t have to know everything without having to look things up, but they should know the basics of the most common crimes. They should be able to explain to you the possible and likely penalties for the charges against you.

They should know the questions to ask you to determine if nuances apply to the case. The best criminal defense attorney has a certain level of familiarity and comfort with the laws and the criminal justice system.

7. Look for a Clear Fee Structure

The best defense attorney doesn’t want confusion about their bill. Instead, they’re going to explain in simple terms how they bill and give you an idea of what you can expect regarding their fees for services and the total cost of your defense.

Understanding Criminal Defense Attorney Fees

The least expensive lawyer isn’t always best. Instead, you should ask what their services include and make sure that your attorney is up for mounting a vigorous defense.

8. Gauge Their Enthusiasm

Some attorneys work harder than others. You will want a lawyer that conducts a thorough investigation. They should go to trial when it’s best to go to trial, and they should encourage you to accept a plea offer only when it’s really in your best interest. When it’s time to decide whether to go to trial or accept a plea, the right attorney can articulate what choice they feel is in your best interest and why.

The way to find this attorney is to look for enthusiasm. While your attorney should be experienced, the number of years of experience isn’t everything. The right attorney has a certain level of sincere interest in their work, and they must be eager to dive into your case on your behalf.

9. They Have Courtroom Confidence

One type of experience that matters is courtroom experience. Criminal trials move fast. Sometimes, your attorney has mere seconds to make an objection that could impact the outcome of the case. Make sure your attorney has enough experience to know the court rules and have confidence and comfort in a court hearing.

In this regard, you can judge a book by its cover. If an attorney has a neat appearance and is well-spoken when you meet with them, they’re likely to be the same way in court. The attorney you choose speaks on your behalf. When you meet, you should like the way they present themselves, because they’re going to be speaking for you.

10. They Take Direction From You

Ultimately, your criminal charge is yours to defend. Your attorney should control the specific methods of mounting your defense like filing court motions and what witnesses to call, but the big decisions are up to you.

It’s up to you to decide if you plead guilty or go to trial. Your attorney should take the time to understand your goals and priorities and take them into account when they’re helping you make your action plan.

Trust Your Instincts

6 Qualities Of A Good Criminal Defense Lawyer | Attorney at Law Magazine

With so much on the line, it’s worth the time and effort to find the right Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer for you. You can do a lot of the research online, but you need to meet with them in person too. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even though it’s important to take the time to find the right lawyer, it’s also important to work quickly to protect your interests.

December 20, 2021 /
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Tips to Improve Law Firm Client Relationships

78 percent of lawyers say that acquiring new business is one of their top challenges, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters Solo and Small Law Firm group. In other words, if law firm business development is difficult for you, you’re not alone.

4 Ways to Build Strong Client Relationships for Law Firms EverSpark  Interactive

There’s more to building a business than buying a few online ads and praying for clients. You’ll need to spend time building relationships, while also keeping existing clients happy to ensure repeat business—all of which can be more difficult than it sounds.

We’ve rounded up a few best practices surrounding client relationships, based on our webinar, Business Development Strategies for Law Firms, held by Clio’s own Lawyer in Residence, Joshua Lenon. As he puts it:

Quite frankly, a lot of your own career development centers around your ability to bring in business, so it’s something that you should be focussing on from day one.

Whether you’re starting a new practice, or just looking to brush up on your law firm business development skills, this list includes several valuable tools to build positive client relationships and ensure sustainable growth for your law firm.

Client relationships and law firm business development

For any law firm—or any business, for that matter—it’s important to focus on building strong client relationships. Happy clients will keep coming back, and they may also recommend your services to others.

There are plenty of ways to build relationships, but some approaches work better than others. If you want to build the best client relationships possible, take a look at this chart from BTI Consulting, which outlines 17 activities to consider.

client relationships and law firm business development

Source: BTI Consulting

The two activities in the Business Magnets quadrant are less important. As Joshua says:

For the most part, your clients aren’t searching for an innovative approach. They’re not searching for a law firm that anticipates their needs, because they know that information already. They know what their needs are. So if you’re marketing yourself solely on these two features, while you might stand out a little bit, you might not be able to close the business. To close the business, you have to at least meet the price of admission.

In other words, the six activities listed in the Price of Admission quadrant outline the basic expectations most clients will have for you. Clients won’t single you out as exceptional for keeping them informed and dealing with unexpected changes, but you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re capable of these activities to close new business.

So how do you build client relationships to reach relationship bliss? According to Joshua and BTI, there are at least five things that you as a lawyer can do to keep your clients coming back:

1. Reach out with unprompted communication

Joshua states:

Unprompted communication is something that I think is really easy for lawyers to do, but so few actually do it. Reaching out to a client with an update—whether it’s significant or not—is a great way to show involvement in a matter, but a lot of lawyers don’t necessarily do this.

2. Pay attention to regional reputation management

Why reputation management services matter to your business - Read more |  Expert System | Expert.ai

For lawyers responsible for business development in solo, small, and medium-sized firms, Joshua notes:

You’re going to be dealing with regional clients, and they’re going to be asking their colleagues whom they turn to. If you have a regional reputation—and that can be demonstrated in a variety of different ways, whether it’s by participation in community activities, or by coverage in the local news—your ability to demonstrate that reputation will help you build a stronger relationship.

3. Offer a breadth of service

Lawyers can’t claim to specialize under most states’ ethical advertising rules, but many still fall into the trap of keeping a narrow focus and missing out on clients.

As Joshua explains:

We tend to focus on a particular area of expertise and seek clients for that. But clients are actually seeking lawyers that can handle their needs, not necessarily just your expertise.

Make sure that you’re open to helping clients, even if it means referring or handing a client off to an appropriate source for aid.

4. Demonstrate your value

As a lawyer, you need to be able to demonstrate your value. But while some lawyers charge upwards of $1,000 per hour, demonstrating dollar value can sometimes be difficult. And, clients can sometimes see lawyers as interchangeable, regardless of their skill or expertise.

That’s a problem—in that scenario, clients see cost but not value.

“You need to show the client you’re actually saving them money or time or emotional grief because they’re hiring you,” Joshua states.

5. Show a commitment to help

“You need to be able to understand the client’s business,” Joshua says. “It may be family affairs, it may actually be a business, but you need to be able to recognize what they’re actually seeking, focus on it, and demonstrate a commitment to help.”

How do you demonstrate this? Dan Pinnington does it with a simple question for clients: “What’s your greatest concern?” He finds that this forces his clients into a moment of clarity, and allows him to reassure them that he can help with their greatest worries as they apply to the matter at hand.

“Dan didn’t arrive at this question because he was told about it,” Joshua says. “He arrived at this question because that’s what worked with the clients he was seeking.”

Key takeaways

Real Estate Attorney | Savannah, GA | J. Scott Vaughan

To sum up, here’s what you need to focus on to build strong client relationships for sustainable law firm business development:

  • Reach out. Unprompted communication does wonder for showing your clients that you’re involved.
  • Manage your local reputation. Get involved in your community to build relationships with potential clients.
  • Broaden your horizons. Be ready to help anyone who comes through your door—even if it means referring them to another lawyer.
  • Communicate value. Take extra care to explain how your services save your client money and/or time.
  • Focus on helping. Ask your client what their greatest concern is, and show your commitment to helping with that.

There’s a lot more to successful law firm business development beyond building client relationships. Traditional networking activities and online promotion should also be part of your plan. You’ll also need to track your efforts to ensure they’re effective.

Joshua talks about all that and more in the webinar, which you can watch here.

Want to do a deep dive into law firm business development? Watch our webinar, Business Development Strategies for Law Firms, for tips to on how to grow your firm.

December 9, 2021 /
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What You Can Expect from the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’re looking at prison time or a hefty fine, it’s a good idea to look into hiring the best criminal defense lawyer possible. You may have the ability to get a court-appointed lawyer if your income qualifies.

Simply put: the legal system is designed to make competently representing yourself in criminal trials almost impossible. Even if you have an abnormally high IQ, the system does not work in your favor. Hiring an attorney to represent you in your criminal trial is a necessity.

This article discusses:

What Does a Criminal Lawyer Do?

Because no criminal case is exactly like another, criminal defense lawyers are trained to pick out the parts of each case that make them unique.

In essence, they use their knowledge to find subtle evidence and reasons why you should win the case.

Also, the best criminal defense lawyer for you may be able to spot certain arguments and factors that could mitigate or even negate any potential crime. Even if you are guilty and the evidence is against you, they may be able to help you reduce fines and jail time.

Daily Responsibilities of a Criminal Lawyer

The day-to-day of being an attorney might not seem glamorous. Generally, it involves:

  • Contacting clients through email, phone calls, video calls, or in-person meetings
  • Reading case documents, evidence, and statutes (laws)
  • Taking notes on what would be helpful for the case
  • Forming a strategy for the case

While these activities may seem boring, they are the essential building blocks to making a strong case.

Criminal attorneys often spend months preparing for a case. The preparation can take much longer than actually being in the courtroom. This way, when the case goes to court, things can move as quickly as possible, and there are no surprises in the case.

What Specific Work Does a Criminal Lawyer Do That I Can’t Do?

5 Things You Should Expect from the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer |  Sponsored | state-journal.com

After the research and strategy are done, a criminal defense lawyer has many jobs. While in court, they will call witnesses in your defense and cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses.

They need to be dynamic and trustworthy, explain complex topics to a jury, and be prepared to discuss any aspect of the case. And this is just the beginning of the tasks ahead of them.

Specialties and Duties: Plea Bargains

Your criminal defense attorney may work with you and the prosecutor to negotiate a “plea bargain.”

A plea bargain can reduce your potential sentence or eliminate some of the charges brought against you. However, prosecutors are often unwilling to negotiate with defendants that represent themselves.

Specialties and Duties: Sentencing

Your attorney will figure out a good sentencing program for your situation.

If you’re found guilty, your criminal defense attorney may be able to change your sentence. Often, they are changed in a way that would prevent you from winding back in the criminal justice system.

For instance, instead of going to prison for ten months for a drug possession conviction, your criminal defense attorney may suggest a prison sentence of six months and then four months in a drug treatment facility. This approach aims to help you with the drug problem that landed you in trouble in the first place.

Specialties and Duties: Case Outcomes

As hard as it might be to hear, an attorney has the experience and training to provide you with a reality check.

Defense lawyers know what’s going on much better than you will during your criminal trial. They also can predict how a case is going and what the judge or jury’s outcome may be.

Your defense attorney has the advantage of:

  • Remaining objective throughout a proceeding
  • Offering realistic insights into how the trial is actually going

These assessments and reality checks are often essential when a criminal defendant is trying to decide whether or not to accept a prosecutor’s plea bargain.

Specialties and Duties: Rules and Regulations

You can read books on criminal defense, but it takes years of study to grasp this area of law. Your attorney will point out important legal rules and regulations that you most likely wouldn’t find on your own.

Many rules about criminal prosecutions are buried within regulations and laws, and even prior court decisions.

For example, if you were to represent yourself, you may never know if the search that the police conducted of your apartment was lawful or not. To know this, you must understand the many nuances and intricacies surrounding the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Specialties and Duties: State-Specific People and Systems

Most people will find it hard to navigate their case through the state legal system where the case is being heard.

There are written rules, such as the local rules of court, that must be obeyed and followed. There are also often many “unwritten rules” that go along with each jurisdiction.

For example, let’s say only certain prosecutors can make and approve plea bargains. Your criminal defense lawyer may save you time (and maybe even jail time) by talking to the right person the first time.

Specialties and Duties: Consequences of Pleading Guilty

Your attorney can easily explain some of the “hidden costs” that come along with pleading guilty. Many people that represent themselves never think about the consequences of pleading guilty if it could lead to a shorter sentence.

For example, if you plead guilty, you may find it very hard to find a job once you’ve completed your punishment. An attorney will make sure you understand all your options before you plead.

Specialties and Duties: Handling Witnesses

Your attorney is trained in working with witnesses. They will be able to more easily gather evidence and statements from witnesses that are going to be called by the prosecution. Handling this without experience can be challenging for someone representing themselves.

Many witnesses, understandably so, refuse to give statements or information to people that were allegedly involved in a crime for fear of their own safety. However, these witnesses are often much more willing to talk to an attorney about their upcoming testimony.

Specialties and Duties: Handling Investigators and Experts

Part of the case will require finding and hiring investigators and expert witnesses.

Investigators can investigate not only the alleged crime but also the prosecution’s witnesses. If these investigators can find evidence that would make a witness’s testimony less believable, this could help your case tremendously.

Similarly, expert witnesses may be able to present evidence that would tend to show your innocence. They can also rebut evidence that the prosecution presents, making the prosecution’s case less credible.

Reading Books Can’t Replace Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Some criminal defendants seek to represent themselves by researching and reading books. However, reading books that spell out crimes, punishments, and defenses probably won’t lead you to victory in your case.

As any seasoned lawyer will tell you, there’s quite a vast difference between reading about the law and actually practicing the law in court.

Nothing Replaces Courtroom Experience

Understanding the ebbs and flows of a criminal trial can make the difference between winning and losing your case.

“Prosecutorial discretion” is a prime example of these ebbs and flows. Even the simple decision of what to charge a criminal defendant with can be complex. This can make all the difference in how a case is handled.

For example, what may appear to be a simple crime on paper could realistically be cast to be a multiple count indictment or a simple misdemeanor. Criminal defense lawyers are skilled at negotiating with prosecutors to figure out what counts to charge.

What Does Someone Need to Do to Become a Criminal Lawyer?

A degree in criminal law requires:

  • A four-year degree from an accredited university
  • Three years of school from an accredited law school
  • A Juris Doctor degree
  • Passing the bar exam in the state they wish to practice in
  • A license to practice from the state

Law students can appear in court while in school if a licensed attorney supervises them.

Many law students will also intern at a law firm before they are hired at a firm. Once hired, attorneys will likely shadow more experienced attorneys to learn the ropes before taking major cases.

Experienced attorneys will have years under their belt in and out of court. Still, newer attorneys are often cheaper to hire. Consider which level of experience better suits your needs.

What Questions Should You Ask a Criminal Lawyer?

Most criminal law attorneys don’t handle every type of criminal case. There is a large difference between defending a DUI and defending a client charged with murder. It is crucial to hire an attorney who has experience in the charges you are facing.

You should also communicate well with the attorney and feel comfortable being honest with them, and the approach they will take in court. Not every attorney is a fit for every client.

You should ask a prospective attorney these types of questions:

  • How long have you practiced law?
  • Have you handled a case like this?
  • What percentage of your time is spent on this specific type of case?
  • Do you focus on a certain area of criminal law?
  • What information do you need/should I prepare for our first meeting?
  • How do you handle fees? (Hourly, on retainer, per case, payment plans, credit cards, etc.)

Get Professional Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney

Top Questions to Ask a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer in Dallas

As you can see, a good criminal defense lawyer can make your job easier. They can also improve your chances of winning your case or obtaining a more favorable plea bargain.

Even if you qualify for a court-appointed attorney, there’s nothing keeping you from speaking with an experienced attorney to obtain a second opinion on your case.

If you’re really set on representing yourself in court, you should, at the very least, retain the best criminal defense lawyer possible to act as a coach during your trial.

You can find an experienced criminal defense attorney near you and start by reading reviews and testimonials or having a free phone consultation to ask questions about your case.

November 29, 2021 /
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