WHERE EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE! 1945 EAST MICHIGAN STREET ORLANDO, FL

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1 The Umansky Law Firm WHERE EVERYONE DESERVES A SECOND CHANCE! 1945 EAST MICHIGAN STREET ORLANDO, FL (407)

2 Copyright 2012, William Umansky All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any matter whatsoever without written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. This book is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the published is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of competent professional personnel should be sought. Accordingly, no liability can be assumed regarding how the information is applied to your particular personal situation. No client relationship has been created or can be inferred by purchase of this book. By William Umansky, Esq. 2

3 Table of Contents Introduction... 4 Just Got in Trouble. Now What?... 5 What To Look for in Office... 6 Rating Systems for Lawyers... 7 Getting What You Pay For Communication Ability - Lawyer's capability to communicate persuasively and credibly Legal Experience - Lawyer's degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s) Community Involvement to Comfort Level Conclusion By William Umansky, Esq. 3

4 If you are reading this material, that means you are concerned about a recent criminal charge, or you want some insight on how to pick the right lawyer for your case. This may be a difficult time because of your arrest. I know after 20+ years of practicing law that people who get arrested are often anxious and can t stop thinking about the potential outcome. I wrote this guide to give you the knowledge and power to ask essential questions to your potential criminal lawyer, as well as for you to have the insight to consider what aspects of an attorney will best suit your needs for your case. If you would like to discuss your case with me, or any attorney of my firm, just call us. The meeting is free and we would be happy to sit down and talk to you. -William Umansky The Lawman By William Umansky, Esq. 4

5 Just Got In Trouble? Nervous, anxious? Court Date coming up and you have no idea what s going on? Do I need a lawyer? Yes! Even though it might be tough to find a lawyer, because you work or you go to school, it is important! A good lawyer can advise you on legal strategies, defenses, and perhaps negotiate a good deal for you or get you off entirely on your charge. How do I find one? You pick a lawyer whom you can rely upon, trust, and guide you through the process. But how? T.V., direct mail, phonebooks, websites, reviews, internet sites, billboards, radio; they all claim the magnificent, grand, excellence of the trial lawyer God. How can one choose amongst this disharmony of advertising voices? Don t sweat it! This guide will go through some of the various ways to find, interview, and retain a good lawyer who will meet your legal, emotional, and budgetary needs. The LawMan says, interview them! Don t hire a lawyer unless you So here we go on our quest for the right lawyer. By William Umansky, Esq. 5

6 Size of the Office (Including Lawyers and Staff) While the size of an office is not in direct correlation to the type of legal work that a lawyer will be able to provide, it is a mark by which you can measure a lawyer s success. A one man shop may not have an assistant, runner, receptionist, file clerk. How do they get all that work done? Technology? Not so! When you choose a criminal law firm that employs multiple criminal defense attorneys, you may get the benefit of multiple lawyers discussing your case for the price of one. Some criminal cases are complicated and multiple lawyers can take time to discuss their difficult cases amongst each other to brainstorm and come up with creative ideas to get the best result possible for their clients. Let s face it. When you get arrested you re nervous, anxious, and the last thing that you need to deal with is a rude lawyer or his or her office staff. You are in panic mode, and you need to have people that are going to be looking out and trying to make you feel comfortable during this hard time of your life. Therefore, it s important from the very beginning to make sure that not only the lawyer is professional, but the staff serving the lawyer is professional as well. So, ask yourself the following questions: When you call the office, was the receptionist polite? When you came in to meet the lawyer, were you treated professionally? When the legal assistant came in to introduce herself, was she courteous and kind? Believe me, you don t want to go to the lawyer s office where people treat you like just another number. As your case moves along, there will be some critical decisions you have to make. You want be able to make them with a clear conscious and clear By William Umansky, Esq. 6

7 understanding. If your lawyer or his staff are not treating you with the utmost respect, kindness, and compassion possible, you don t need to retain their services. Public Rating Systems and Reviews from Former Clients and Peers The Internet is the Great Equalizer. You can research the lawyer and the law firm before you hire them. Check out AVVO.com or Google Reviews and read through them at your leisure. Take your time and really read them as it will give you an insight to what other clients think about the lawyer you may want to hire. Of course there are times a client may leave a bad review, but look at the majority of the reviews and try to get an idea of the person before you visit. THE ISSUE IS QUITE EASY TO SEE: DO YOU WANT A LAWYER WHO WILL TREAT YOU AS A VALUED CLIENT OR TREAT YOU AS A COMMODITY? Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating: What is That? You may notice that William Umansky posts on his website that he is AV rated. What does that mean? This is the highest rating a lawyer can achieve for legal ability and ethical standards. These ratings are based on confidential peer reviews of judges and fellow lawyers. By William Umansky, Esq. 7

8 Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are: Legal Knowledge - Lawyer's familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s) Analytical Capabilities - Lawyer's creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge Judgment - Lawyer's demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue. Communication Ability - Lawyer's capability to communicate persuasively and credibly Legal Experience - Lawyer's degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s) Legal Ability Ratings are: C-Good to High B-High to Very High A-Very High to Preeminent By William Umansky, Esq. 8

9 Florida Bar Disciplinary Actions The Florida Bar Association is the governing body that maintains all of the ethical guidelines for lawyers in the State of Florida. They are also the body that works to discipline lawyers that behave in an unethical way while representing their clients. Arm yourself with knowledge and see if the lawyer has been disciplined. While most lawyers, like everyone else, are not perfect and make mistakes, look at the discipline history. If you see a lot going on, then be very cautious! You Pay for what You Get! Make no mistake here. While lawyers are proud of the work they do as professionals, they still have to make a living. To a lawyer, time = money and if you hire someone who is inexpensive, there is a good possibility that the lawyer may not work very hard on your case. Usually you will find that the less a lawyer charges, the more cases the lawyer has on their plate. This comes down to the following straight formula: Find a price in your budget. For example, our law firm usually charges a flat fee for the legal work we do on your case. This fee covers all of the legal work, including legal research that needs to be done, legal Motion writing, and any and all Court Dates, in your case from the time you meet with your lawyer and sign our Contract for Representation until your case is set for a Trial. In some cases, law firms charge a separate predetermined trial fee so you know upfront what you will pay a lawyer if your case goes to trial. If the case seems to be a case that will be easier, or less stressful to resolve, then the price will tend to be lower. And vice versa, if the case seems like it will be a lot of work for the lawyer, then the price will tend to be higher. By William Umansky, Esq. 9

10 Does the Lawyer have a Good Procedure for Client Communication? Communication Phone Calls - Does you lawyer or his/her assistant call you back within 24 hours? They should if there is no other pending emergency. Mail/ - Does you lawyer or his or her assistant you back within 24 hours? They should if there is no other pending emergency. Promise = Promise What Can You Do For Me? Neither at an initial consultation with a lawyer, nor during the pendency of your case should a lawyer ever make you a promise about an outcome in your case. Promises in this context are unethical and unreliable. Lawyers are not mind readers, gypsies, or fortune tellers and they cannot predict the future, so no lawyer should promise you or guarantee you a certain outcome in your case. The LawMan says if a lawyer makes a guarantee, then run run run. Run like the wind, get the hell out of their office and never go back! However, based on their experience, lawyers can provide you with a number of possible outcomes that could occur in your case. Sometimes a lawyer is able to tell you, probably or more likely than not, but most lawyers will not go further than this in telling you how your case will resolve. As the case progresses, there is more and more information for your lawyer to be able to form an opinion about how your case could resolve, which will likely be shared with you. By William Umansky, Esq. 10

11 Case Load Size: Man I saw my old lawyer with 20 files when he came to court with me! The Umansky Law Firm prides itself in HAVING SMALL CASE LOADS. Small case loads go hand in hand with the quality of work that is done on your file. The cheaper the lawyer, the odds are the more cases the lawyer will have. The more cases the lawyer has the less time he or she will have to handle your case. Look at the little formula below: 50 Hours (Average Lawyer Work Week) Divided By 100 cases = 30 minutes per case spent on average per week VS 50 Hours (Average Lawyer Work Week) divided by 25 Cases is 2.0 hours per case per week. There are only so many hours in the day, folks. Don t let someone use the word efficiency with you when it comes to quality of work. The more cases a lawyer has, the less time the lawyer has on your case. By William Umansky, Esq. 11

12 Bottom Line: Remember to ask how many files should you expect the lawyer to be holding when you go to court with him/her. The lawyer says one, two, maybe three or four, don t sweat it. 7, 8, 9 or 10? You may want to be careful here! What kind of experience do they have in handling your file? This may be one of the most important questions you can ask a lawyer. If you are charged with a criminal case, you don t need a lawyer who primarily handles family law or bankruptcy. The lawyer can do more than one area of law, but ask the following question: WHAT PERCENTAGE OF CASES HANDLED ARE CRIMINAL? Remember to look the lawyer straight in the eye and see how they respond. If it is less than fifty percent, I would suggest you think twice about hiring them. ASK THE LAWYER AT AN INTERVIEW WHAT THE FINAL RESULT OF YOUR CASE WILL BE? Make sure you ask the lawyer. If the lawyer gives you any answer but We will have to wait and see, then be very careful. Watch out for the following warning signs: We will win your case! We get every case dropped!! Your case WILL get dropped!!! We have never lost a case!!!! We always get Not Guilty at trial!!!!! Here is the classic but sneaky: BASED upon the facts you are sharing with me now, I can tell you the case will get dropped!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By William Umansky, Esq. 12

13 Strangely enough once the lawyer gets the State s evidence and it is the evening before trial, his tune has changed and now he is singing: Do you really want to risk jail by going to trial on this case? WATCH OUT FOR SLICK RESPONSES TO THAT QUESTION!! What defenses will you raise to my charge? Do some research online before you meet your potential lawyer about the defenses to your case. It is easy do a search term like defenses to a DUI. Tons of articles will come up and you can read about them before you have your meeting. Then ask the lawyer and see how she responds. Will she be able to spot the same defenses you read about or even come up with one you have never heard of? Arm yourself with knowledge. You can take a look at any one of my lawman guides to defending your TYPE OF CASE. Ongoing Education Why should I care if my lawyer takes continuing legal education? Ask the potential lawyer you re going to hire if they ve taken courses that deal with your specific crime since they graduated law school that deal with your specific crime. You ll be surprised that many lawyers who graduated law school do not continue to take courses that are specifically related to the crimes you ve been prosecuted for. For instance, if you got arrested for a DUI, ask the lawyer if he or she has taken continuous education courses in DUI. Like everything else in life, things are always changing and laws are no different. What once was law 10 years ago may be totally different now. What may have been a good defense in the past may not longer work in the future. Check the lawyer s biography on his website and see if he has a continuing education section. Also, look to see if he s taken any courses that are consistent with what you ve been charged By William Umansky, Esq. 13

14 with. If the lawyer doesn t list continuing education, then ask him over the phone for an in person interview, as some lawyers don t list all of their continuing education on their websites. Community Involvement You might be asking yourself. Why is it important that your lawyer is involved in their community? How will that actually help in your case? A lawyer s activity in their community does not always directly help you with your case. However, it does show you one thing that may be more important than any other factor in your decision to hire a lawyer. Usually, the lawyers who are involved in their communities are people who are compassionate, caring, and feel the need to give back for what they ve earned in life. OK, I get it. My lawyer is a nice guy. How does that help me? When lawyers are involved in their communities, it s usually a sign that they understand people and that they are aware of how people think, feel and act. If your case goes to trial, there maybe is a better chance that the lawyer who volunteered his heart and his soul in his community will come across to the jury as a compassionate, caring, professional advocate on your behalf. By William Umansky, Esq. 14

15 Why Do I Care If My Lawyer Can Get Along With Any Kind Of Personality? Prosecutors, judges, and juries come from all walks of life. And the lawyer that has the most flexible personality and the most wisdom in dealing with all kinds of personality is the lawyer that is more likely to be able to work out a better resolution for your case. Let s face it, everyone is human, and a criminal defense lawyer that is liked by prosecutors and judges is more likely to receive a better deal or a sentence. It s not corruption, or bribery, or kissing someone s ass. It s all about connections and relationships, and lawyers who are more involved in their communities have a better ability to develop relationships with judges and prosecutors based upon trust, friendship, and respect. And that often means better results for the clients. Comfort Level With The Lawyer One of the most important things that you can have with your lawyer is a solid comfort level. If you are impressed by the lawyer s credentials, experience, and background, and believe that he or she could do a good job, but something is nagging you deep down inside, something that doesn t make you feel 100 percent comfortable, do yourself a favor and find yourself another lawyer. Know your gut!!! The LawMan says, If it doesn t feel right, don t hire, find another! By William Umansky, Esq. 15

16 Steve Jobs knew all about what it took to determine your fate. He said: You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. kjkoio The lawyer you hire is the person that stands between you and the government s desire to punish you. That lawyer is the last bastion between you and the ultimate consequence for the crime you may have committed. If you do not feel 100 percent comfortable sitting down with that lawyer, do yourself a favor and interview other lawyers and other attorneys. There is always an attorney out there that is right for you. Don t feel that just because you were referred to them, or you read great reviews, that it means that they re right for you. Sometimes, the lawyer that is right for you is sitting in a small little office with old furniture, and yet, when he or she tells you something you feel right at ease. Never feel you have to settle and always trust your gut instinct when picking a lawyer. By William Umansky, Esq. 16

17 Conclusion We believe clients should educate themselves on legal issues. I know that self-educated clients become better clients of our law firm because they are informed and confident of decisions they make, and confident of the advice we give them. We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any other questions about finding a great lawyer for yourself or a loved one, please don t hesitate to contact me by telephone or . Bill The Lawman Umansky Phone: (407) By William Umansky, Esq. 17

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