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What Qualities Should You Look for When Retaining an Attorney to Defend Your DUI?


Interviewer: If you were facing DWI charges yourself and you were looking at attorneys, what would tell you that you found the right one for your case?  What qualities would you look for?

Experience Counts

James Abate: The first thing is experience, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t retain anybody who wasn’t a member of the National College of DUI Defense.  If you’re not part of that organization, I just don’t think I would want you to represent me.

The second thing is going to be the relationship that we have.  There is a lawyer for everybody out there.  There are some lawyers who I don’t think I would want to be their friends, but if I had a different temperament, that’s the lawyer I would want.

How Accessible Is Your Attorney?

At the same time, there are clients who want to work hand in hand with their lawyer as a team.  I think that’s the kind of attorney I am.  I lead the team, but they’re included in the process. My clients always feel like they have access to me.  That’s the kind of relationship I want to find.  I think the only way to find that out is by sitting down in a consultation and getting to know them a bit.

Be Wary of an Attorney That Makes Guarantees or Offers an Extremely Low Rate

Interviewer: Are there any warning signs that people should be aware of that may signal that they might not be talking to the right person?

James Abate: When someone starts guaranteeing you results.  That’s somebody who you want to stay away from, or someone who charges you an extremely low rate.  People don’t work for free.  If someone is charging you a low rate, that means that they don’t have the experience to do the work or that they’re just not planning to do any work for you.

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