How Can You Afford a Lawyer in This Economy?

Posted By Bill Nimmo & Raymond Gomez, Attorneys at Law || 20-Oct-2015

These are the toughest economic times in this country in a long time. Now this may not be an interesting subject for you to read but you need to understand it because it affects you directly. Families are having a much harder time accessing enough money to hire good lawyers. You have probably seen in the news all the big companies who are going under because of the collapse of our economy. When General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford are on the verge of going under you know this country is in trouble. And it is not just in the automobile industry, it is everywhere! People in this country are losing their jobs left and right.

To summarize how it happened, it began with the collapse of real estate. For many years regular folks have bought houses. As the real estate values increased the value of their homes increased. People who bought a house for $75,000 or maybe $100,000 years ago suddenly had a house that expanded up to where it was worth $300,000, or even more. Lenders would lend these people money based on the increased value of their homes and the amount they owed rose steeply. Those with not great credit could get loans from lenders just based on their equity (the value of the house over what is owed.)

All these lenders then sold their loans to companies on Wall Street who packaged them up as “securities” and sold them to investors. Then the values of real estate started to drop. And the values kept dropping and dropping and dropping. In California values had grown way high and the drop was steep. Regular people who had loans on their equity suddenly owed more than their house was worth. The Wall Street companies who had sold these mortgages as securities began to collapse. The stock market shot down to where the impact was worse than the great depression of 1929. Companies started going under. People lost their jobs and could no longer afford their mortgages. And here we are.

Your family, which used to be able to afford to get a loan on their house to help pay for your defense could no longer do it. Lenders haven’t loosened up yet and the equities in the houses are still low. Even on the smaller cases, families are having a harder time because they need the money and they think that they might as well let the public defender handle the case. The public defender caseloads are growing higher and higher and their staffs are not growing to accommodate the increased caseloads.

If you are charged with a serious crime you really need to hire a good lawyer. Now you need to make you choice more carefully because you can’t afford to make a mistake. Many times we see people hire some lawyer, their family pays a lot of money, and they end up realizing that the lawyer is just not that good. It used to be that the family could afford to bypass that mistake and hire another lawyer. Now chances are they can just afford hiring a lawyer one time. You don’t want to end up realizing your life and freedom are on the line and you have to get rid of your bad lawyer and go back to the overworked public defender or panel attorney.

Make sure you and your family hire an experienced criminal attorney or a firm who is reputable and capable of providing you the best defense. Look at their credentials, their results, and interview them carefully so you can hear for yourself, if they know what they are doing. In fact you should interview more than one lawyer so you can see the difference for yourself. You can tell by listening carefully to them if they know what they are doing. Don’t be fooled by someone who promises a lot because they may not be able to deliver. And you don’t want to be on trial’s doorstep when you find out your lawyer is not worth a damn!

Also see if the attorney or the firm has a serious financing plan. If you are going to finance a larger amount the family is going to have to back it up with a good long term job, their retirement account, or their property. They will have to put a significant amount down but that is better than having to pay the entire fee up front. They will also have to pay interest on the payments. In a smaller case the family will have to have a good long term job, decent credit, and agree to be responsible for the payments plus interest, through a debit or credit card.

More carefully, this is a huge decision and it could literally mean the difference in many many years in prison. With the firearm enhancements, gang enhancements, and strikes you could end up spending so much time in prison that you will be very old if you ever get out. Remember, however, giving up is not an option!!