Attorney Gregg J. Stark
* National Trial Lawyers – Top Indiana Lawyers
* American Society Of Legal Advocates – Top Indiana Lawyers
* Client Satisfaction Award – American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys
* Highest Lawyer Rating Of 10 – “Superb”
Unfortunately, in my capacity as a defense lawyer, many of my clients come to me from other lawyers. In fact, there is a higher percentage of disciplinary actions against criminal defense attorneys than any other field of law.
Negligent or substandard lawyers come in all packages, from the gleaming high rise office building, to the trusted family lawyer who may be afraid to admit he or she knows little of courtroom defense. When assessing the quality of a defense lawyer, some people are manipulated by focusing on the wrong priorities as to the competency of a given attorney. What follows is real world information to protect yourself or someone you care for from being fooled that you are in good hands:
1.) Beware Of Fake Lawyer Reviews
Those five star ratings of lawyers you may have seen when reviewing attorneys? Many of them are fake. It is suspected that depending on location, more than half of the positive online lawyer reviews in the field of criminal defense law nationwide have been either created by the lawyers themselves or by a marketing firm on their behalf.
Regrettably, in this community there are more than a few examples of such online lawyer misconduct you may have already come across within your online legal search.
In increasing numbers I have had to counsel good people who have originally hired the wrong lawyer based on these harmful advertising practices. Tragically, many good people are reluctant to admit that they may have fallen for the false five star review scam until it’s too late.
In time, they inevitably come to grips with the reality that the supposed five star reviewers they thought they could trust were no more than a sales tool to manufacture an attorney’s online reputation.
You may have heard of bought Facebook or Instagram friends? The concept is not much different but potentially far more destructive to a trusting individual victimized by a lawyer.
In our community these questionable reviews littering online pages are there for any reasonable person to see.
Obvious indicators to look out for are the outsized number of glowing five star reviews posted for one or more lawyers far greater than lawyers with many more years of experience and/or the largest of law firms.
While I am most grateful to those former clients who have taken the time to communicate my abilities online, I recognize that the amount of people who can be expected to post on the internet about a criminal charge against them is understandably small.
I do not request reviews from clients as I do not want to be a part of broadcasting the misfortune of others online for my financial benefit.
Do not become a victim of false lawyer review schemes. Understand that such reviews, even if posted by an actual client, have often been given in return for discounted fees, or worse yet created by a marketing agency or lawyer for financial profit.
2.) Are You a Dedicated Attorney Practicing In The Field Of Indiana Legal Defense?
This my friends is the key question that can help ween out most all lawyers you may be considering when selecting the best attorney for your legal protection. Criminal defense law is a legal field all its own. Not unlike hiring your family doctor to perform heart surgery, you should not retain a general practice attorney around the corner to provide a criminal defense in a court of law. The best attorneys almost always practice exclusively in one area of law. Of course the best case scenario is to locate an experienced attorney in one field of law within the location you need. Stark Law Offices is dedicated to the defense of cases within Hamilton County and throughout Indiana. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, it stands to reason that our years of experience in this area should speak loud and clear as to who to turn to when your freedom and livelihood is at stake.
3.) Who is Really Representing Me?
A continued issue that has lead many to seek my help is the reality that the attorney a person has retained to represent them is not really representing them at all. Far too frequently in a sluggish economy, experienced paralegals are being employed to handle the brunt of criminal casework, while it is often a young underpaid lawyer fresh out of law school who actually appears in court on behalf of a client; a client who has never so much as spoken to this lawyer. Prior to the retention of a lawyer it is critical that you get assurance that the attorney you have retained is the actual defense attorney who will be representing you. Further, it is important to gain an understanding as to how you will be billed for services; whether by an hourly rate or flat fee. Too often one is billed at the hourly rate of the experienced defense lawyer when it is a paralegal performing the work.
4.) There is a Difference Between a Courtroom Lawyer And a Trial Lawyer
You may find many lawyers who have been in a criminal courtroom, what you don’t see is many lawyers who have been in trial. One appearing for a criminal case might find a variety of attorneys appearing within a courtroom. The prosecutors within these courts know the attorneys before them. Just who are these lawyers you see? Most are public defenders either learning the field of criminal defense or those not capable of earning a living in private practice. Others are more concerned with collecting fees from clients than the investigation of their case.
Prosecutors in Hamilton County know which Noblesville & Carmel lawyers have the experience, knowledge and skill level to hold them accountable for a proposal that is wholly unreasonable and detrimental to a represented client. Veteran prosecutors and experienced defense attorneys both know one fundamental truth about most lawyers who appear in court; most attorneys are either not interested in or do not know how to adequately take a criminal case to trial. This is significant, for it is the threat of trial that is always the most powerful weapon in a top attorney’s arsenal. Without that known and recognized ability to take cases successfully to trial, the defense attorney retained is weak before the eyes of a prosecutor. A prosecutor employed to maximize a criminal penalty to the greatest extent possible where they see fit. Only attorneys trained in the daily work of defense are truly fit to provide the best legal outcome possible.
5.) The Best Defense Lawyers Respond to a Client’s Needs Quickly. However, A Sign Of Trouble Could Be If Your Attorney Is ALWAYS Available To Take Your Call
Yes, you read that correctly. A top defense lawyer is not a customer service representative. Secretaries, paralegals and associate lawyers are employed by the best working lawyers to attend to client needs and inquiries while the defense lawyer is at the office: namely the criminal courts of Indiana. Most people are surprised to discover that most attorneys rarely, if ever, have set foot within the confines of a courtoom, much less a criminal courtroom. Unlike other fields of law be it tax law, contract law or even personal injury law where attorneys spend most working hours within individual or law firm offices, the daily work of a top defense attorney is, and should always be on behalf of clients within criminal courtrooms, police stations and/or prosecutor’s offices throughout the state.
When not in court, our clients are owed the most vigorous defense a lawyer can provide. The best attorneys are in the field investigating the facts of a prosecution, uncovering potential defenses and/or personally challenging a case in person before a specific prosecutor. While there is a time and place for office work, the most effective criminal defense lawyers are not confined to a desk and do not use a telephone or email as a substitute for the necessary interpersonal communication required when mounting the most effective legal defense.
If your attorney is always available to take your call either 1.) The attorney does not have a sufficient amount of cases requiring attention whatever the field of law 2.) the attorney does not handle a sufficient amount of criminal cases requiring his or her appearance in court, 3.) the attorney is pre occupied with matters unrelated to active criminal defense work such as compiling client billing statements or a pre occupation with fantasy football, (yes, that is a true case).
As a result, it is an attorneys’s response time in responding to a client’s needs or questions that is what is most important, not whether the attorney is always available to take your call. Those who know me will tell you that I am often reached while traveling on my way to a court or law enforcement office throughout the state. With that being said, when I am not able to be reached immediately, returning calls promptly and answering questions completely in straight language a client can understand is one of the most important traits of the most skilled criminal defense attorneys.
While it may be pleasant for you to visit a general practice attorney’s plush corner office high above the city, it will be most unpleasant to learn that the monies that you have paid for the upkeep of that office have not been directed toward your legal defense but to the bills required to keep up appearances. Don’t get me wrong, while many people including myself enjoy nice offices, do not allow luxury accommodations alone to convince you that you have secured a high end legal defense. Do not hire a law firm for a drunk driving prosecution; hire an experienced dui attorney. I have been told time and time again that one believed that the attorney assigned to them from such a firm was capable in that they always took their call and had an office view that indicated that they must be important within the large law firm. The changed reality usually occurs once it dawns upon them that the results that they had expected from this influential law firm have not been forthcoming. However, the billings continue from the same attorney who may have been inexperienced in criminal defense but was always available to bill for every call.