9 Tips for Choosing the Best Lawyer

experienced Criminal defense in the greater chicago area

Are you facing criminal charges in the Chicago area? At the Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege, our founding attorney has years of experience in protecting the rights of people who have been accused of DUI, drug crimes, violent crimes, theft, white collar crimes, arson, armed robbery, criminal appeals, sex crimes, and more.

criminal defense lawyers

In the United States, you aren’t alone if you find yourself accused of a crime. In 2015, more than 70 million people had criminal records. However, if you don’t want to become another statistic, you will probably need to hire criminal defense lawyers. Here are nine things to look for before you choose one.


If you’re accused of a crime, you don’t want an inexperienced lawyer. Ask around, check online, and talk to a criminal defense law firm to find a lawyer who has had experience or specializes in the types of charges you are faced with.


When you’re looking for criminal defense lawyers, you want them to be trustworthy. Sure, all lawyers are supposed to keep things confidential and act on your behalf, but pay attention to reviews and testimonials. If several people are saying they didn’t trust a particular lawyer, felt pressured, or felt uncomfortable, you may want to look elsewhere. It’s a good idea to go with your gut, as well. If you don’t get a good feeling from a criminal defense attorney when you meet them, find someone you feel comfortable with.


It can be important to find criminal defense lawyers that love what they do. If your lawyer seems unprepared, is frequently late with no explanation or apology, or even seems bored or distracted, they may not have much passion for their job. You want a lawyer who listens, asks questions, takes notes, communicates, and follows up frequently. People who enjoy what they do often do it well.

Works with a Team

Usually, a lawyer will work with a team of criminal defense lawyers, paralegals, and administrative staff. If your lawyer doesn’t, they might not have enough time or resources to devote to your case. You want as many people as possible researching and working on your defense.


A confident lawyer will often be humble and explanatory when it comes to your options. They will also be willing to give you references and tell you the outcomes of other cases. You don’t want someone who brags without merit, but you do want someone who gets results.

Fees are Appropriate

Hiring criminal defense lawyers is hardly the time to be looking to save money. If a lawyer’s fees are overly low, there’s probably a reason. They might be right out of law school or they might not be very good at their job. You may not want criminal defense attorneys that have overly high fees either--you need to be able to afford your attorneys.

Makes Sense

Perhaps the worst thing about legal matters is the language used in documents and in court. It can be impossible to understand what’s being said. Your lawyer should use clear language with you and explain things you don’t understand. If they don’t take the time to communicate with you or seem irritated by your questions, find a different lawyer.

Has Time for You

Everyone’s busy trying to juggle work and personal lives, but you should be able to get a response or an appointment with your lawyer in a reasonable amount of time--about 24 hours. If you don’t hear from them when they say they will be in contact, they may have too many cases or something else is going on outside of work. A criminal accusation is a time-sensitive matter, and you need someone who is available and fully present to defend you.

Has Been in a Courtroom

While you may want to avoid court, sometimes it’s your best or only option. You’re going to want criminal defense lawyers that have been in a courtroom before. A lawyer who isn’t afraid to fight for you in court is a lawyer worth hiring.

When you’ve been accused of a crime, you’re worried about your family, money, or going to prison. You don’t want to be worried about whether or not you’ve chosen the best criminal defense lawyers. Do a little research, meet with several attorneys, ask questions, and choose someone that you feel is experienced enough, has time for you, and is capable of defending you.