Military attorneys are simply not the same as civilian attorneys. Those who practice military law are extremely specialized, and most lawyers do not even attempt to dive into this area of the law. That means that when you are considering hiring an attorney for your military case, you should look for lawyers that specifically state that they have experience in this particular area of the law. In this article, we'll suggest attributes you should look for in your potential attorney, and we'll go through some candid advice on how to choose a lawyer for a military case.
The military will appoint a free defense attorney to you in situations where court-martial is involved. However, an appointed military attorney may not always be the best option, especially when they do not have the experience, time, or motivation to meaningfully defend your case. A civilian attorney who specializes in military law is usually a better option, but remember that you can also choose to have both attorneys working on your side.
How to Choose a Lawyer for a Military Case
Not all civilian military attorneys are created equal, and you need to select the one that will work best for you and your case. If you're wondering how to choose a lawyer for a military case, consider the following suggestions:
- Do some research. Finding the perfect attorney will involve some time and effort. When your career, reputation, and way of life is on the line, however, it's crucial that you find an excellent attorney. The extra effort will definitely be worth it. Completing a simple Google search is a great way to get started. Keep in mind that, unlike attorneys who specialize in state or federal law, military attorneys can practice virtually worldwide. That means that your search for a great military lawyer is not confined to your immediate geographic area. For example, we service clients in the continental United States, Europe, the Middle East, and those stationed in areas like Japan, Korea, and Hawaii.
- Look for military experience. One of the major reasons that you may not want to use a military-appointed attorney is that they lack the real trial experience you need for your case. Your civilian attorney should make up for that. Look at potential attorneys' experience and previous cases, and read through the testimonials that they have listed. If their previous clients had problems like yours, the attorney likely has the experience you need. Additionally, finding an attorney who practices military law and who was also in the military themselves will be a huge plus. They will be able to relate to you in a way that someone without military experience would be unable to do.
- Ask around. One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to ask around. If any of your fellow service members, friends, or family have had a military attorney previously, then they might have some good advice on who to see or who to avoid. If they liked their attorney, ask them why they liked them or how they found them. Your family, friends, and colleagues will give you truthful evaluations that can be very helpful.
- Meet with the attorney if possible, otherwise speak to them over the phone. It is very important that you get along with your attorney. Trust is vital. If you meet a potential attorney and you just don't seem to “click,” then move on. You should also look for an attorney that can speak to you like a fellow service person and not in confusing legal terms. Your case could be extremely important for the rest of your military career, so be sure that you know what is going on at all times.
Choosing the right military attorney can seem stressful, but it doesn't have to be. The most important step in finding a military law attorney is finding someone who can relate to you and your situation. If you are still wondering how to choose a lawyer for a military case, give us a call at 1-(888) 919-8265 and we can walk you through your options. You can also e-mail us at [email protected]. We look forward to helping you in any way we can.