I am seeking an attorney, in a state other than my own (in the USA), to provide me with guidance in the area of criminal law. (I have some specific questions.) How might I go about finding such an attorney other than look at ads? What might indicate a really knowledgeable criminal attorney?

First update:
1. What type of work experience might indicate a really knolwedgeable criminal law attorney. For example, one attorney has 10 years experience as an Assistant United States Attorney. Is that a big plus or a Ho-hum? (Such information is available on https://www.justia.com/lawyers.)
2. Is there any value to such designations as "super lawyer": https://attorneys.superlawyers.com/

Second update:
3. Super doctor/lawyer websites seem to be a scam, per these reviews:

Third Update:
4. One comment said there was a legitimate ranking site for lawyers:
Unfortunately, it seems not to rate criminal law attorneys:

5. These two sites say that "super lawyer" sites are a scam:
Fourth Update:
6. This site rates attorneys and seems legit:

  • Your update says super doctor/lawyer websites seem to be a scam, but then post links about two doctors websites. There is an actual publication called Super Lawyers that is not a scam. Try the Chambers and Partners website, too.
    – A.fm.
    Commented Nov 12, 2019 at 0:30

3 Answers 3


It will be very difficult to find an attorney using the type of metrics that you seem most interested in.

We could say that the best attorneys are the ones who have won the most trials, but wouldn't you rather not go to trial in the first place? So is the best attorney the one who gets the best plea bargains? Maybe, but that's a lot harder to keep track of. And of course, it would be better still if the attorney were able to persuade prosecutors not to charge you to begin with. And that's going to be virtually impossible to track.

If I were looking for a defense attorney, I'd probably be glad to hire someone with significant experience as a prosecutor. That experience gives the lawyer first-hand knowledge of how the government will view the evidence, prioritize the case, and handle the prosecution. And of course, they're likely to have better relationships with prosecutors, which can go a long way in pretrial negotiations.

Lawyers know who among them are the best and worst, so you can probably just call a few firms and ask if they handle your type of case. If they don't, you can ask if they know anyone who does. If you make enough calls, you'll start to see some names start floating to the top.

  • >Some people say the best lawyers have an Ivy-league education and experience in the courtroom to back it up. Others say the best lawyers are good actors who can trick the jury into believing anything. At Crane, Poole & Schmidt, we believe the best lawyers are the ones who win.
    – hanshenrik
    Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 17:16

The ABA has aspirational rules for lawyer referral services. The rules include having a method for handing complaints from consumers and requiring that all lawyers on their panel be in good standing and have malpractise insurance. Regarding qualifications -

The service must establish subject matter panels and establish minimum requirements for eligibility. The number of subject panels necessary will vary from service to service depending upon the needs of the community served. Requirements for eligibility should include sufficient experience to ensure that the lawyer is qualified in the field of practice. The service should require proof of compliance with the requirements so established, which may include certification in affidavit or affirmation form.

You might ask any referral organization you contact how and to what extent they comply with these aspirational rules that are full of "shoulds".

It may be that any attorney who is not under any disciple at the moment can get on their list.

  • The aspirational rules seem designed to avoid referring terrible lawyers. I am interested in finding a really knowledgeable lawyer.
    – user3270
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 22:38
  • I agree with your concern Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 23:16

You can call the Bar Assoc. in that area and they will recommend an attorney.

You are really going to have to talk to the attorney and see if he or she fits your needs. What is good for one person may not be good for another.

There isn't just something that makes a lawyer good or not good in an area. It's more of a how you can work together type thing as long as he or she practices the type of law you are looking into.

  • 2
    Does the bar association do any screening, or does it just hand out the names of members that have put themselves on a list of attorneys looking for referrals?
    – user3270
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 1:17
  • I mean, there's really not a way to specifically screen someone without you talking to him or her. Going to court isn't like you can jump this high and I can jump that high. What's good for you may not be good for someone else. All lawyers have the same schooling, it's just picking out which one fits your case. It's more like saying you liked one math teacher and not the other. Math is the same, but it's who teaches you the way you like.
    – Putvi
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 19:10
  • Some lawyers are better than others, just as some basketball players are better than others. I am looking for a better than average criminal lawyer. I can then talk to him or her and see if I like their style. I am asking for help with competence not personality. As the posting above says "What might indicate a really knowledgeable criminal attorney? "
    – user3270
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 2:53
  • I get that, but I'm telling you that you can't predict who is gonna be good as it's just a situational thing. If you measure a good defensive basketball player against a shooter you it doesn't work, if you get what I'm saying.
    – Putvi
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 17:18

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