Choosing an Attorney and their win-loss record

There are two questions you should be asking when you are interviewing an attorney to represent you:

  • Does the attorney know what they are doing? and
  • Will the attorney fight for me until the end.

You are hiring an attorney for their experiences, dedication, hard work, and skills.  This is all an attorney has to offer you.  When you ask a lawyer what their win-loss record is you are comparing the profession of law with a sporting event.  A win-loss record is something that is applicable to a sporting event to determine who the champion is at the end of a season.  A trial is not a sporting event.  If you are found guilty at the end of the trial you do not go home to practice and to try again next “season”.

The fundamental difference between a trial and sporting event is that at a sporting event the focus is on the skill and preparation of the teams or athletes.  The focus of your trial should not be your attorney.  The focus of a trial is the facts and the applicable law.   The focus should be on how the facts are insufficient for proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard the prosecution must prove their case by.  Keep in mind that even good attorneys can only do so much when the evidence against their client is overwhelming.  However, a good attorney will still try a case when the evidence is overwhelming against their client.  A good attorney will test each piece of evidence.  A good attorney will not judge their client’s innocence or guilt.  A good attorney will try the difficult cases.

An attorney who can remember their win-loss record does not have the experience your case needs or they are being dishonest or they try only the winnable cases.  This type of attorney will take your money and force you to plead out.  The ultimate decision to proceed to trial or to resolve a case short of trial is always your decision.  A good attorney will advise you what they feel is in your best interest but will respect the decision you make even if it is against their advice.  An attorney who only tries the winnable case will not give you the option of going to trial.  A law professor once told me – “those attorneys who can recall their win-loss record and have an insurmountable number of wins are only trying cases that they want to try and not the cases the client wants them to try.”  You do not want this type of attorney representing you.

Hire an attorney because you trust the attorney.  Hire an attorney because you connect with the attorney.  Most importantly, hire an attorney because they have the experience, dedication, work ethic, and skills to provide you with the best possible defense.

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