Tagged: hiring an attorney

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing criminal charges can put you under a lot of pressure, so you’ll want to quickly hire a lawyer. Before you pick the first defense attorney who pops up in your Google search, though, take the time to ask some important questions. They’ll help you hire an attorney you feel comfortable with and think is most capable of achieving a successful outcome for you in court.Here are five questions to ask before hiring a criminal defense lawyer:

Is the initial consultation free?

Most criminal lawyers offer the first consultation for free. This is your chance to get to know each other and get a reading on whether you could have a cooperative relationship. In this meeting, the lawyer should ask about your criminal charges, the details of your arrest, your previous criminal history, and your educational and employment background. At the end of the meeting, the attorney will have a better sense of what to expect in your case and will give you a quote for their fees and services.

Is the defense attorney experienced in handling cases similar to yours?

When you’re facing criminal charges, you need to feel confident about your attorney’s experience and capabilities. Ask questions about the lawyer’s educational background and criminal defense experience. To find out more about their professional experience, ask about the percentage of cases they handle for clients facing charges similar to yours, what kind of relationship they have with prosecutor’s office, and how often their clients go to trial.

Although there are many capable “general practice” lawyers, you need someone experienced in criminal law and who has dealt with many cases similar to yours.

What is the lawyer’s opinion on your case?

A criminal defense lawyer with years of practice in cases like yours will be able to give you a professional opinion about what you may expect. Your lawyer should not only answer your questions, but should also inform you about your options, what is in your favor or working against you, and how the whole process will work.

It’s unethical for a lawyer to guarantee specific results, however. Beware of anyone who promises a certain outcome.

Get answers to some of our frequently asked questions.

Is the firm equipped to handle your case?

Putting a case together requires a lot of behind-the-scenes research and logistics work. So, you want to choose a lawyer who has enough qualified staff to manage the details of your case. This is not the time to be David facing down Goliath! A one or two person firm, for example, may not have the resources you need to effectively stand up against the manpower in the District Attorney’s office.

Other questions to ask about the firm include:

  • Who will represent me in court, you or someone else?
  • Who should I contact with questions?
  • What’s the best way to get in touch?
  • Will the firm handle appeals?
  • Can I meet everyone who will be working on my case?

Learn about our areas of practice.

How much do you charge, and how are the fees structured?

Before hiring an attorney, have a direct conversation about their fees. You’ll want to work with the best lawyer you can afford without creating a financial burden for yourself.

Some lawyers will charge an initial retainer plus an hourly rate. Their rates can vary greatly and can get expensive if your trial lasts several months. Other lawyers charge a flat fee for pretrial motions and another rate if your case goes to court. Make sure you understand every service they’ll provide and how they charge for each.

No matter how their fees are structured, the lawyer charging the highest price may not be the most qualified for your case. Do be prepared, however, to pay more for a criminal defense attorney who has trial experience and a great reputation for aggressive representation.

Asking these questions before hiring a criminal defense lawyer should help you select the best attorney for your situation.

Contact a Chattanooga Defense Lawyer

Contact us at 423-531-2800 if you or someone you know is facing criminal charges. We will be happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.

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first meeting with your divorce attorney

Meeting with your divorce attorney for the first time is unsettling, no matter how you arrived at this point in your relationship. To make the meeting as efficient, focused, and productive as possible, these are the most important things to bring to your first meeting with your divorce attorney:


An Open Mind

In the beginning, you can be considering divorce, filing for divorce, or have been served with a citation suing you for divorce. During your first meeting with your divorce lawyer, you will discuss many personal matters. Remember, your attorney is not there to pass judgement, and everything you say will remain confidential.

What to bring: A willingness to share and listen with an open mind.

Your Wishlist

Start by crafting broad goals about what you want out of the divorce. Consider things like child custody, whether you want to stay in your marital home, how to pay for expenses like school tuition and your children’s health insurance, what assets are most important to you, who gets the pets, how you’ll pay for college, etc.

Again, the fine points may evolve as you work through the process. But if you keep your eye on the prize when it comes to the goals that matter most to you, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate.

What to bring: Your list of goals. You can even make it as simple as a top 10 list.

Your Questions

This is the time to ask about what approach is best for you – litigation or an alternative dispute resolution method, who’ll pay for what during the divorce, whether you should request spousal support, how long it will take, how to work through child custody and child support issues, and more.

What to bring: A written list of questions. Writing down your list will ensure you cover as much ground as possible in your first meeting with your divorce attorney.

Contact a Chattanooga Divorce Attorney

Hiring a lawyer who specializes in family law will give you the confidence and stability to cope with the process and get the results you seek.

At Speek, Webb, Turner, and Newkirk, we have helped thousands of couples with their divorces, and we will work hard to represent you in yours. Please contact us today if you need help with your divorce.

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should you hire a divorce attorney

If you are seeking a divorce, it may be tempting to DIY the process to save time and money, but going that route may create more stress and cost more in the long run. When you consider all the factors like child custody, spousal support, and distributing car payments and retirement accounts, a kit or online program seems too simple for the job. This is especially true if you have a sizable or complicated estate to divide. Thinking through these questions can help you decide if you should hire a divorce attorney.

Do you know all your options?

If you represent yourself, you must draft and present a proper settlement proposal. Even if you get so far as to confidently present a proposal under your own guidance, the judge may not accept the terms you’ve laid out. This very possible outcome will frustrate your judge and delay your case, costing you time and money.

A divorce lawyer, however, will be able to look at your case and tell you the most likely outcomes and whether or not you need to take your fight to court. An attorney will be able to work alongside you to draft a settlement that will be most agreeable to all parties. The attorney will also advise you on how to handle your spouse’s settlement requests. Finally, an attorney will know to include topics in a settlement that you may not have considered, like permission to reclaim your maiden name or plans to pay for your kids’ college tuition and living expenses once they’re too old to require child support.

Can you remain objective?

Handling a divorce is a very personal, highly emotional matter. Your house, your money, your children and your retirement will all be discussed at length while you work toward agreement. The workload alone (not to mention the paperwork!) can induce high amounts of stress. It is a rare person who is able to manage their daily responsibilities, their emotional and mental health, and their job, AND successfully represent himself or herself in court.

Your emotions will, no doubt, impair your ability to objectively consider all the options that can give you the best results for your case. A divorce attorney can be the objective third party that keeps the emotion out of the settlement and helps you and your spouse reach agreement.

Your lawyer will be able to help you know when to keep your feelings in check and to distinguish which battles are worth fighting.

Can you put in the work?

In court, you are held to the same standard as all other lawyers, even if you represent yourself. If you go it alone, you’ll have to research all your documents and records thoroughly to build a strong case and while maintaining your regular daily life at home and work. Are you prepared to keep up with and properly fill out all the forms required to keep your case active? Your words and phrasing in the contracts must be precise and airtight.  Any mistake or overlooked detail can create consequences that last a lifetime. A lawyer that concentrates specifically on family law will have spent the time and energy dedicated to understanding the ins and outs of the court system. Getting access to their expertise may well make it worthwhile for you to hire a divorce attorney.

Just hearing the phrase “hiring a lawyer” can cause many to see dollar signs flash before their eyes. However, the time, energy, and resources needed to create a strong and tight case are just as costly. If you choose to represent yourself, you are taking on a full-time commitment.

A lawyer would need to frequently gather information from you, but, after that, he or she will continue to work and research behind the scenes. You can then place your focus and energy on taking care of yourself and your family during this difficult time.

The job of your divorce lawyer is to stay on top of all requirements and provide objective counsel to help you achieve your goals for life after divorce. A divorce attorney knows how to finalize your divorce as quickly as possible so you can get back to your life. At Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk, we work hard to relieve pressure and give you the most favorable results.

Contact a Chattanooga Divorce Attorney

Contact us if you’re ready to decide whether you should hire a divorce attorney. We’ve helped thousands of couples, and we can help your family, too.

Contact Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk


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