Answer: It depends! (Okay, I’ve been a lawyer for 30+ years) Here’s the best lawyer money can buy.
The idea that money can get you the best defense lawyer to get you out of trouble is prevalant among people. It can be true, but for reasons you may not know. Here’s why–
I’ve tried over 100 jury trials, both as a prosecutor and defense lawyer, and with the exception of an occasional quirky, run-away jury, they usually get it right. They aren’t susceptible to “smoke and mirrors” from the lawyers. In my experience, juries focus on the evidence, as they should, rather than on the flashy, expensive lawyers. This means, no matter how good your lawyer is, if the evidence against you is overwhelming, you’ll probably be convicted.
What a good defense lawyer can do is to exploit any weaknesses in the evidence. So, who is the best lawyer money can buy and why do the “famous” lawyers seem to be better than others?
Actually, as day-to-day lawyers for accused people, Public Defenders are the best. They practice nothing but criminal law, know the intricacies of the system, and know all the tricks that will work with the judges. So why don’t Public Defenders win most of their cases?
They have a couple problems to overcome. For one, they cannot choose their cases. A private lawyer, regardless of pay, can always turn down a “loser.” Public Defenders must handle the worst cases with the least defenses before juries. Of course, they’re going to lose often as a result. Probably no lawyer could win these kinds of cases.
Second, since they’re representing poor people, it’s easier to convict these defendants. Why? Because the juries, for the most part, are middle-class people drawn from the community. If the defendant is working, has a family, dresses well, and has an education, the jurors can identify with that defendant, to some degree. Public Defender clients, by definition, don’t have any of the above advantages. They often even look like criminals. (Well, they are, aren’t they?)
As a prosecutor, one of the toughest defendants I tried to convict had been a US Air Force veteran, had a full time job, had a college degree, came to court everyday with a blue suit and his wife, who sat in the front row. He was good looking and sounded intelligent. The jury acquitted him. Conversely, most Public Defender clients don’t look this way at all.
Does that mean the more expensive defense lawyer is the best lawyer money can buy? Sometimes, it could be true, particularly if the lawyer uses some of the fee for investigation, both on site and scientific.
Regardless, each lawyer must deal with the evidence against his/her client. If it’s weak, many lawyers could prevail. If it’s overwhelming, it’ll be tough for all defense lawyers.
What do you think? Have you had any exeriences good or bad?