Whether you’re seeking a lawyer for yourself or someone close to you, finding the right one can be challenging. This is especially true if it’s your first time to need a lawyer or if you’re being accused of a serious crime.
In theory, any duly-licenced lawyer who specialises in Singapore criminal law should be able to offer the services you need to navigate a criminal charge. In reality, choosing the right counsel for a case that will leave a lasting impact on your life is almost certainly going to be a confusing and emotionally difficult process. If you’re looking for help with a criminal charge, here’s how you’ll find the best experts in criminal defence Singapore has to offer:
1) Good Communication Skills
A lawyer can be utterly brilliant at navigating legal concepts and turning them on their heads, but if they cannot communicate these ideas clearly to you, they are probably not the right person for the job. The very best criminal defence lawyers are as comfortable presenting complex arguments to judges as they are simplifying otherwise difficult ideas for regular people.
If you find that you cannot understand the recommendations given by your lawyer, it may be difficult to trust them completely. If this is the case, either bring up your concerns to them or consider finding different counsel.
While a lot of lawyer jokes poke fun at legal practitioners’ supposed lack of humanity, the fact is that criminal defence lawyers who lack empathy tend to be less effective, both on and off the court.
Empathetic lawyers are better able to connect with you and understand your personal concerns regarding your case. They’re also better equipped to communicate your side to judges and opposing counsel in a way that is sensitive to everyone’s needs. Most importantly, a lawyer who understands other people’s motives and emotional states will be prepared to offer the holistic support you need to navigate a fraught criminal case to its conclusion.
3) A “Play to Win” Mentality
Criminal cases are serious affairs that can have a lasting impact on your well-being and reputation. If your lawyer is the type who follows routine without exploring all the available options, they may not be cut out to provide you with the spirited defence you deserve. Try to find a lawyer who will pull out all the stops and do what they must to secure a good outcome.
4) Offers Transparent Fee Structures
Mounting an effective legal defence can be expensive, and a lack of transparency will only further contribute to your financial stress. Make sure to choose a lawyer or law firm that can give you itemised breakdowns of their expenses.
5) Has a Good Track Record for Your Specific Case Type
Every case is unique, but you’ll have the best odds if you choose a lawyer with a proven track record in handling cases similar to yours. Take time to research a candidate lawyer’s past cases and outcomes, if available. You can also ask them for references or client testimonials related to your specific case type.
6) Provides Fact-Based Estimates and Benchmarks
Things that are laid out in the law books are not necessarily reflective of what happens in real life. Given that, whoever you choose to handle your defence must be fully aware of typical real-world resolutions for cases similar to your own. They should not only be familiar with the typical sentences for your case type but also the pros and cons of trial alternatives like mediation or arbitration. Furthermore, your lawyer should be able to give you a rough idea of the resources needed to pursue a specific course of action.
7) Has Sufficient Resources to Devote to Your Case
Even the most brilliant lawyers have their limits. If the lawyer you want is already overloaded with other cases, they may not always be able to provide the time and attention your case deserves. If your case is particularly complex, consider hiring instead a fresher, hungrier lawyer or a law firm with more resources.
8) Can Conceptualise Multiple Scenarios
Creativity is an especially underrated quality for criminal lawyers. Given that the stakes can be quite high in criminal cases, having someone who can offer a wider range of options for your defence is a definite plus.
9) Has Solid Negotiation Skills
Finally, regardless of whether your case will go to trial or will be settled by some other means, you’ll want someone who can effectively negotiate on your behalf. Unfortunately, not all lawyers are necessarily equipped with the negotiation skills needed to mitigate or reverse bad situations.
To suss out which of your shortlisted lawyers are good negotiators, look for individuals who are both strong-willed but personable. Those who show a bit of flexibility and have a track record for conflict avoidance and resolution can also be good candidates for your legal representation.
Find the Legal Help You Need
Being slapped with a criminal charge is no walk in the park. If you’re like most people, chances are you probably won’t even know what your next steps should be. To make things worse, not all the lawyers who are available to you are going to be cut out to help with the legal challenge you are facing.
Fortunately, knowing the qualities that make up the best criminal lawyers in Singapore should enable you to regain your agency and increase the odds of achieving a favourable legal outcome. By picking a lawyer with the qualities above, you can rest assured that you’ve done all you could to secure a positive end for your case.