3 Important Considerations When Selecting a Criminal Defense Attorney

Posted by Peter ChambersSep 23, 2020

This could be one of the most important decisions of your life. Hiring the right criminal defense attorney for your case can mean the difference between confinement and freedom, between a permanent stain and a clean slate.

It makes sense that few people plan ahead when selecting a criminal lawyer to defend them. Consider retirement. Most people hope to live to an old age and retire, but far fewer plan for it. If people don't plan for something they hope will happen, how much planning do people put into something they hope never happens? Zilch.

In this blog post, I will set out a few criteria to help you direct your search and help find the right criminal defense lawyer for your case.


If you have unlimited resources, maybe this is not your first concern. Of course, any lawyer in the country would be glad to represent a client where fees are no object. For the rest of us, read on.

Criminal defense lawyers bill clients in two ways. One method is hourly billing, where the client pays the lawyer for his or her work based on the time it took to complete it. Mechanics and psychiatrists also bill in this way. The other method is flat fee billing, where the client pays a pre-set amount for services.

Generally, I prefer flat fee billing. While I agree it is important to find ways to work with every client, flat fee billing helps to bond the client and lawyer to achieve smoother results. I don't pay extra at the car wash if they are busy and I wait an extra five minutes, so why should my clients pay more if a courtroom happens to be busy one day?


No lawyer can guarantee results, yet every lawyer is happy to share their success stories. (Even me.) Hearing a jury announcing that your client is not guilty is a fantastic feeling, and can produce some justified bragging. Sometimes a jury trial is the only way to find justice for the wrongfully accused, but I believe most victories are won long before trial. To put it another way, a personal injury attorney who won $1 million for a client may not look as impressive when you learn that most of his clients end up worse off than before. Be sure to ask questions, and don't be afraid to follow up. 


The practice of law requires exactly that - practice. Just like most professions, lawyers can improve over time as they refine and hone their skills. You already know this, so let me shine a light on an overlooked aspect of experience. At what point is experience overrated? Is a lawyer with 25 years experience better than an attorney with 26 years of experience? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe both are already set in their ways, so the cutting edge defense from a young gun might be your best shot at freedom. 

Every lawyer overrates their own experience because they worked hard to acquired it, so consider whether decades of doing the same thing over and over is really worth the extra cost. 

Make the Right Choice for You

In stressful times, you need an attorney that will respond to your needs and help protect you. The Law Office of Peter James Chambers treats every client as an individual. Personal attention, hands-on investigation, and a fearless approach to legal strategy makes make my office ideal for the results-oriented client. Contact me today at 415-985-7706 for a free case evaluation.