“Say again… how much?” I get your sticker shock but let me explain how we got to that price.
Here is the Pablo Picasso Napkin Story to illustrate the point.
Picasso was sitting in a Paris café sipping coffee. He was just enjoying the day, minding his own, when a fan recognized him. The fan knew he was Picasso, the artist, and approached him unsolicited. She asked him to make a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso acquiesced, drew his dove, and then handed the drawing back to the admirer. As he handed the napkin to her, he asked for a huge sum of money as payment. Bewildered and confused, the fan asked, “How can you ask for so much. It took you a minute to draw this?” To which, Picasso replied, “No. It took me 40 years.”
Understand and appreciate, when you see the finished product often, you have no idea how many hours went into learning the skill and perfecting the trade. The same is true for attorneys. Most people do not understand and/or appreciate the amount of work that goes into a single representation. Even if the matter is resolved quickly and seemingly effortless, you can bet that the skill and experience of the criminal defense attorney involved had something to do with that smooth resolution.
“Good criminal defense attorneys” have gone to school for at least seven years, some more. They earned sufficient grades to graduate. After graduation, they have taken and passed the bar exam. At this point, they were allowed to practice law. While impressive, not very reassuring for a client.
“Good criminal defense attorneys” then work at their trade for years. Keep in mind that if they have been practicing over ten years, they have seen over a hundred hours of continuing legal education seminars on various legal topics. At a minimum, they have spent hours learning how to do the various skills necessary to properly represent a person in criminal court. They have researched various legal issues concerning the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. They have drafted, filed, and argued motions to suppress and other motions. They have researched the voluminous criminal offenses and sentencing statutes. They have learned basics of the rules of evidence and the rules of criminal procedure (and maybe the appellate rules as well). They have seen the inside of a few courtrooms, maybe a prison cell, and definitely the various county jails. They have spent many hours away from their friends and families learning this trade. And this is the bare minimum for a “good criminal defense attorney.”
If they are a board-certified criminal trial attorney, then they have taken the added step of requesting a peer review, passing a 6-hour (mini-bar exam all on criminal law topics), and have excellent credentials in terms of trials and motions. The certification is only valid for five years. At the conclusion of the certification, the attorney must reapply and meet certain criteria again. If the attorney reaches this status, then they are in approximately the top one-half percent of all attorneys in Florida.
The “really good criminal defense attorneys” do all the above and continue to perfect their craft. These attorneys do not shy away from the complicated representations. These attorneys are not afraid to push the system. These attorneys are not afraid to stand up to law enforcement, the prosecution, or even the judges in terms of properly representing a criminal defendant. These attorneys continue to learn and improve as they go. These attorneys take it to the max every day.
And the “really good criminal defense attorneys” knows their worth. They will charge you a reasonable price in terms of the necessary experience, skill level involved, the time involved, and other pertinent factors like forum or travel. The price may astound you. The price may shock you. But if you understand the above, then you get it.
If you want to do the Pepsi Challenge and shop around, then be my guest, but if I have quoted you a price (based on the information provided, known, and understood at the time). I know what I am worth and I know what it will take to complete that representation (provided the information is authentic and accurate).
But know this: an exceptional criminal defense attorney is just some attorney. Most skilled lawyers know a specific area of the law or two like insurance or estate planning (and these can be extremely complicated). But criminal defense requires so, so much more to be effective and, therefore, valuable to a client. A criminal defense attorney (worth their salt) must have a working understanding of criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, basic appellate procedure, the emerging case law, the case law interpreting the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, established and emerging scientific and forensic fields, local politics and societal views, not to mention a backbone, the ability to speak publicly, and the ability to negotiate.
Knowing what you know now, the question is simple. Do you want the representation done cheaply with corners cut to save a few dollars? Or do you want the representation done with a sound strategy and skill that it requires so that it puts you in the best position to prevail? The question scarcely escapes its own statement (and if it does not then I cannot help you).
For all the reasons above, I have earned the right to demand that specific, larger sum of money for any certain representation, for my dove, for my skill, for my value. Can I do it for less you ask? No, that is why I quoted the specific fee that I requested. Based on my experience and skill, I know what it will take to do this representation correctly and properly. If you want it done to the best of my professional abilities, then the fee is the fee I quoted.
Please note regardless of the amount of the attorney’s fee, no attorney can guarantee any specific outcome in any specific case. Cases are driven by all the complexity of the facts.
Anthony Candela is the Trial Dog and a three-time Board-Certified criminal trial attorney. He opened the Candela Law Firm, P.A. in 2014 and handles criminal trials and appeals (as well as estate planning, wills, and trusts). He received his J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law in 2000 and his B.A. in Political Science from King’s College in 1996. As an expert in criminal law and procedure, he has tried over a hundred cases to verdict. Since 2008, he has been certified and recertified by the Florida Bar in Criminal Trial three times. He has also argued several dozen appeals. In the federal system, he is admitted to the Middle District of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal. #candelalawfirm #thetrialdog @candelalawfirm @thetrialdog
THE CHOICE OF ATTORNEY MATTERS. IN A CLOSE CASE, YOU WANT EVERY ADVANTAGE YOU CAN GET. YOU WANT THE BEST YOU CAN AFFORD. If you are looking for representation in a criminal matter, criminal appeal (either state or federal), or estate planning, we believe we can help you. Please contact www.candelalawfirm.com or Anthony Candela at (813) 417-3645 to discuss your case.
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If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, then please feel free to leave me a comment below, and thank you for reading this blog article. Clicking the link, you can also check out the author at his profile on AVVO.com (Anthony Candela)
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