Partnering with a lawyer is a little bit like getting married. You can rest assured that, no matter how hard you try, your lawyer will know more about you than your mother will.
At times, the relationship can become contentious, and you may feel uncomfortable with your attorney. However, the opportunity for a real, honest and clear adult relationship may not be present in any other part of your life when you are dealing with criminal charges in the United States criminal defense system.
Much like you would trust your gut in the beginning of any other relationship, your gut feeling about your lawyer should dictate how you proceed.
You cannot have a lawyer that you don’t trust completely during a time of high stress and potential death or incarceration on the line. At the end of the day, this can be more important to your survival, happiness and freedom than any other relationship in your life.
Particularly if you are guilty of the charges brought against you, your ability to communicate well with your lawyer about your case, your lifestyle, and your intentions for your own defense is vitally important.
Here’s a very interesting talk, by Professor Gregory Germain, on the Differences between a good and a bad lawyer:
Any feeling that your lawyer may be playing you for a fool, or providing improper, unsound, or unconsidered advice is a sign that you need to consider.
In general, a defendant’s intuition is tuned to high gear when dealing with a criminal charge or ongoing trial, so paying attention to the messages you get is important.
However, analyzing them critically and thinking about the outcomes can mean that you decide to stay with an attorney, because those feelings of distrust may be reflected from other areas of your life, or from your precarious legal situation.
In short, don’t throw away a good relationship with a solid attorney because you have a suspicious nature at the moment. However, if your lawyer is giving you a good reason to suspect bad behavior, you should run for the hills.