On the heels of the Avvo controversy comes this post from the Windypundit about dealing with his traffic ticket and the process he went through in hiring a lawyer. Part I explains the ticket and the law he was charged with a violation of. Part II is all about how he went about picking an attorney. I’m a big fan of his style of writing these posts, so I recommend you check both out and you’ll get sucked into the story.
On beginning his quest for representation, he writes:
As in most things, I used the web. I did a search at findlaw.com for traffic lawyers with offices near the courthouse, on the theory that a lawyer familiar with the ways of the courthouse (and maybe the judge and the prosecutor) would have more to contribute. I picked one out because I liked the content of his website—light on “I will fight for you” rhetoric, but with lots of free information.
Interesting stuff there: He presumes that proximity to the courthouse means familiarity with the court (although he doesn’t reveal how near was near) and also relies on the content of the website.
Here’s something else that’s interesting:
What I was really assuming is that the stakes were so small that it wasn’t worth too much of my time trying to pick a good lawyer, especially since I don’t know how.
Yeah, neither do I. It’s a delicate balance you have to achieve in choosing an attorney. First, who can you afford? Second, of those you can afford, which one is best for you? For those interested, Scott Greenfield and Mark Bennett have posted about picking an attorney recently (sorry, can’t find the exact post – maybe one of them can leave a comment and I’ll update the links).
Setting the right fee is important too. Clients may be stupid, but they’re not stupid:
I don’t know if I got robbed or not. I probably could have shopped around more and found a better price, but I’m not planning to hire any more lawyers, so it wasn’t a priority. I guess he probably knew that too, so he probably did stick it to me on the price…
Is that good practice?
Anyway, the icing in that post is this downloadable card [pdf] on the Cook County PDs website, reminding you to exercise your rights in the event you are questioned by police.