Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

How to Choose an Attorney

Most people who get caught up in the criminal justice system have little or no experience trying to find the right lawyer. All they know is they’re in trouble and they need a criminal lawyer to help them. The faster the better. And it’s not like asking your neighbor to recommend a plumber. Friends and family probably have no better idea than you how to find the right lawyer.

So you have to figure it out by doing some research. First question- what am I looking for? Obviously, you want the best, most experienced criminal lawyer that exists, right? Not exactly. You’ve got to break it down a little. First question is, where is your case being heard? If the best criminal lawyer in the world is in Omaha, Nebraska, he obviously wouldn’t be much help in New York. Less obviously, you should consider the county where the lawyer primarily practices. For instance, here in Queens County, you would be wise to find a criminal attorney who is in the

Queens Criminal Court just about every day for many years. That means he’s used to dealing on a daily basis with the judges, assistant district attorneys, court personnel, program directors, and everyone else whose input is crucial in getting the best result. That attorney is likely to have the best rapport and credibility with these people and should know best all the little things likely to impress them and lead to a favorable outcome.

Now you’ve narrowed it down a little. You want the best, most experienced criminal lawyer in QUEENS County. OK, how do you find that lawyer? Since you’re reading this, you’re obviously checking websites on the Internet. But what are you looking for? The obvious and correct answer is to carefully read and check the details. Most of the criminal law websites are full of generalities written for the generic criminal lawyer by a web designer in some far-off place. You’ll learn that the lawyer is “the best,” “experienced,” “best Queens criminal lawyer,” etc. You’ll see lots of copy written by someone else about specific crimes, copy that tells you nothing about what happens in a Queens’s criminal case.

What You Really Want To Know Are The Objective Details

For instance: How much experience does the attorney have? In my case, it’s more than 40 years! That’s me personally, not the sum total of every lawyer associated with the firm. And every single day of that experience is devoted to CRIMINAL law, right here in Queens County.

What college and law school did the attorney train at? Most websites don’t mention this, for good reason. I graduated from Columbia University and NYU Law School. Both are ranked in the top six in the entire country. The lawyer who graduated from a mediocre law school will tell you that’s not important. Which would you prefer?

What career path did the attorney take? This is something to consider carefully. Some very fine criminal lawyers in Queens started their careers as prosecutors and later switched over to the defense side. For me, personally, that was never an option. Even as a kid, I dreamed of being a great criminal lawyer. Prosecuting people and putting them in jail went totally against my instincts. Instead, I took a job right out of law school, working for peanuts, with a prominent criminal lawyer. After seven years, I had finally learned enough to start my own firm.

Forget the years, Find out how many cases the attorney has handled? How many has he tried? In my case, I’ve lost count, but it’s well over 3,000 cases. Many of them would not be considered “important” cases, but they’ve all been more than important to the people who faced those charges. I’ve handled, and usually tried, just about every type of major felony that exists. Some of my cases have had national notoriety and I’ve been interviewed by Time, Newsweek, every New York newspaper, and most of the local TV stations. You can read some of the articles in NY Times, Forbes, and Lawyer.Com. I’ve tried over 400 cases and I haven’t won them all, but I have won most of them. I’ve tried 12 murder cases and only one resulted in a murder conviction. (That case was reversed on appeal, but the defendant was convicted of murder on retrial with a different lawyer.)

Contact Our Law Firm

Your case might not need to be tried, but it’s important that your attorney have credibility as a trial lawyer to encourage the DA to agree to a reasonable disposition of your case. Find out more about The Law Office of Martin D. Kane.Contact our firm at (718) 793-5700.

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