Who is the best DUI lawyer? What about the best singer, baseball player, or runner? Any serious attempt to answer a question like this must be qualified in various ways; whoever might be the best opera singer probably won’t make the cut for best R&B or rock and roll singer. In baseball, the best pitcher is a much different player than the best batter. In looking for the best, context matters. The “best runner” in the 100-yard dash is no doubt the fastest in that event, but is a lot different from the best marathon runner, who must pace him or her self for 26.2 miles.
This means that finding the “best” DUI lawyer is really about getting the best person for your case, more than anything else. This, in turn, is dependent on things like the facts of the case, where it’s located, and how well the lawyer and the client “fit” and work together. Some people get along better with the kind of legal “buzzsaw” who, taking a shotgun approach, challenges everybody and everything within a case, while most others do better with a more thoughtful approach. And as much as someone might prefer one personality type over another, the lawyer has to be the right fit for the case itself, as well.
Specifically, nobody can be all things to all people. Certain lawyers are better at some things than others, and even do better in some locations than others. For example, my team and I limit our practice to the Metro-Detroit area, where we know, from repeat, day-in and day-out experience how things are done in each of the various courts in which we work. Location is important in a criminal or DUI case. Some Judges are “easier” than others, but however that shakes out in any particular case, a lawyer has to know how to deal with it, and we make sure we do.
If you secretly could hear lawyers swap war stories among each other about different Judges, you’d find that, while there is often general agreement about certain of them (“Judge X is really tough,” etc.), every lawyer has his or her favorite courts, prosecutors and Judges. And if you’re wondering about specifics, you should know that no lawyer who has a clue will ever discuss this publicly…
At its simplest, all of this means there is no single “best DUI lawyer” anymore than there is a best singer, or a best athlete, or best anything like that. That aside, I’d still like to provide the reader with some clear guidelines to help find the best lawyer for his or her case, with the caveat that, while I hope this helps, bear in mind that there are no shortcuts to putting in some effort to find the DUI lawyer who is best for you.
Among the better DUI lawyers, you’ll find a level of confidence that, while obvious, never rises to the level of cockiness, and a quality of diplomacy and tact that, while polite, is not so soft-spoken as to ever be confused with “sheepish” A lawyer should know his or her own abilities, and neither underestimate nor overestimate them.
Over 125 years ago, Sherlock Holmes put it this way: “I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.”
In today’s lingo, word…
The best thing someone looking for an attorney can do is to read what various lawyers have written, and, while doing that, also read between the lines, so to speak. As a buyer of legal services, you should read enough to get a real sense of how the various lawyers explain the DUI process, and how they explain their take on it. If a lawyer cannot clearly explain his or her approach to you online, then they’re rather unlikely to be able to explain your case very well to anyone else that matters.
For our part, my team and I encourage people to look around, and I think it goes without saying that any lawyer who would try and discourage someone from doing that, or otherwise try to cut short their efforts to explore their options, should be eliminated from consideration. Whatever else, the better lawyers in any field want to be chosen, rather than “roping in” clients by hard-selling themselves.
Hiring a good lawyer is going to cost some bucks. As the famous old line goes, “it’s never about the money- just the amount.” A really good DUI lawyer doesn’t come cheap, BUT – AND THIS IS HUGELY IMPORTANT – too many lawyers of lesser skill charge WAY MORE than they’re worth. Paying top dollar doesn’t necessarily buy top-shelf legal skills. The legal field is full of operations seeking premium fees for mediocre talent.
What does this mean for a consumer? That you can easily rule out any bargain or cut-rate lawyers, but once you’ve done that, you have to know that plenty of others charge extravagant prices fees for nothing more than ordinary abilities. As another old saying goes, caveat emptor (“buyer beware”).
The best (and simplest) solution is to be a good consumer and look and read around. You can certainly pick up on the “voice” of a lawyer or law firm through what they’ve written. This blog stands as an example of that as it relates to our firm. You can get a very good idea of how we do things and what we’re like through articles like this, and I have over 1000 that I’ve written and published to-date. This is the kind of communication and explanation that very much defines our practice.
Back in the 1990’s, having a website was something of a novelty. Now, in 2020, every lawyer worth his or her salt has (or should have) a comprehensive website (and blog). This is the information age, and just like with cut-rate legal operations, there is little reason to waste time with any attorney or firm who isn’t online and providing a decent amount of useful information about OWI cases, and their approach to them.
Yet for as modern as things have become, there is no substitute for using the phone to call around, either. At the end of the day, you CANNOT text or email your way through a DUI case; you’re going to have to go to court, and your lawyer will be your spokesperson when you’re there. For as slick as any website can be, it’s the ability of the law firm and staff to communicate effectively that matters most, and the only real way to assess that is to speak with them directly.
Another thing to watch out for are generic, slick-looking lawyer referral sites that promise to help a consumer find an attorney. To lawyers, these “lead generation services” can help find potential clients. To be sure, even some of the better lawyers use them, although my practice doesn’t.
One of the negative consequences of these sites is that they “commoditize” lawyers like any other product, and pretty soon, lawyers are stacked up for comparison based on things like price and customer rating, and that’s not much different than online shoe-shopping. Of course, the more a lawyer pays these services, the better his or her profile looks, and the more it’s promoted. How else would these “services” survive?
Unfortunately, these sites, which seem to offer convenience and “one-stop shopping” often lead people to NOT do the one thing they should be doing first and foremost: checking around for themselves. Even if some lawyer has 10,000,000 five-star ratings and better testimonials than Mother Teresa, if your call to the office isn’t answered by someone who is helpful and knowledgable right off the bat, then that likely tells you a lot about the rest of the operation.
In the business world, whoever takes your call is, whether they like it or not, “The Director of First Impressions.” Any practice that lacks a friendly helpful person who can’t answer your questions the moment they pick up the phone is already working from a handicap. Likewise, if your call goes to voicemail during regular business hours, that doesn’t bode well either.
You can’t get any real sense of this from a website or blog article, much less some legal referral site. No matter what, if you’re looking for the best lawyer, meaning the best lawyer for you, then you need to call around.
Most firms offer a “free consultation,” but that often means something different to the lawyer that it does to the potential client. As a consumer, you want a consultation to mean an opportunity to discuss your situation and evaluate whether some law firms may be a good fit for you. Although this should also be the lawyer’s goal, as well, some use the “consultation” as an opportunity to get a person in the “client chair,” and sign them up.
In our office, that’s never how it works because we don’t drag people in to talk about their case. Instead, all of our consultations are done over the phone, right when a person calls. When we’re done, we’ll always advise a person to keep checking around, and invite them to call back if they have any other questions, want to compare what we said to what anyone else has told them, or if they want to make an appointment.
I think this is the best way to do consultations, and certainly the way I’d want to be treated if I was looking for a lawyer. I hate being subjected to any kind of gimmicks or high-pressure tactics, and I would never let that be inflicted on any person contacting our office for help. Besides, if you’ve read this far, you have probably already figured that’s just not how we are. In fact, “how we are” is so important, and, in our case, such an asset, that I want anyone who calls our office to do some comparison shopping.
At the end of the day, the best DUI lawyer is nothing more or less than the best DUI lawyer for you, and the way to find him or her is to read around, and then call around.
If you are facing a DUI charge anywhere in the Greater-Detroit area and are looking for a lawyer (even “the best” lawyer), do your homework. Be a good consumer, and explore your options. All of our consultations are free, confidential and done over the phone, right when you call. My team and I are very friendly people who will be glad to answer your questions and explain things. We can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., at either 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980.