We stress all of the time the importance of having a lawyer that is narrowly focused in the types of cases that they handle. A jack of all trades attorney will not have the knowledge of the law you need or the relationships that you need, especially in a tougher case.
I saw a great example of this recently when I was called by a young man who had a felony charge of assaulting a police officer in Chicago. He was part of the Ferguson protests and apparently things got really heated an he spit in an officer’s face.
What he did was wrong. But at least after the fact he was smart. He came to me and we made a referral to a top attorney who was a former Cook County prosecutor and now only defends criminal cases in the Chicago area. He had a good relationship with the prosecutor and got him to agree to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor if the client would apologize to the cop. After that the deal was to give him supervision which means that this could be expunged off of his record some day. You don’t want a dumb mistake to ruin the rest of your life.
But things got even better for this rather lucky young man. The cop missed two court dates. Usually when the cop is the victim, Judges won’t ever dismiss a case. But in this matter the connected attorney got the Judge to do it and an agreement from the prosecutor not to re-file the charges.
And it’s all because the lawyer was the right choice for this type of case. He new the right people. He had defended similar cases before. He has a great reputation. All of those things really matter.
There is an old saying that it’s not about what you know, but who you know. That is incredibly true in law whether we want it to be or not. And this case is a great example of that.
Of course the smart thing would have been to never have spit in the first place, but we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect people. Mistakes are made. Whether or not that mistake is a bad memory or ruins your life comes down to how seriously you take the criminal case.