Some defense lawyers have a bad habit of over promising and under delivering. Many times a potential client will come to me and tell me how a different defense lawyer they met with promised them all kinds of things. Sometimes the promise is a better plea, and other times the promise is a dismal of a case. In reality no honest or ethical defense lawyer can promise an outcome in a criminal case. The reason is that there are too many variables. The variable range from the facts of a given case, to who the prosecutor is, to who the judge is or who the jurors are.
A good and honest defense lawyer will explain to a client or a potential client that they can’t make any guarantees. I have lost potential clients over the years because I would not promise them a certain outcome. I have had potential clients tell me they would hire me only if I guaranteed a dismissal.
Another area where a good defense lawyer will be honest with the client is when it comes to giving bad news. I don’t like to give bad news to clients but I know it is part of my job. I have heard stories of unethical lawyers simply choosing not to give their clients bad news and leaving the clients in the dark. A good and ethical lawyer will not only give good news to their clients but also bad news that may be hard to hear. If I have a bad case with bad facts and I know it will be difficult to win at trial I tell my clients. I don’t sugar coat the news because that is not helpful to my client.
In my experience most of the defense lawyers in Phoenix, and in the Phoenix greater metro area are honest and would never be dishonest with their clients but unfortunately there are bad apples. There are bad apples in every profession and the profession of criminal defense lawyers is no different.