Will Anyone Else Be Working On My Case If I Hire Your Firm?

When someone hires my firm, I will be the primary attorney on the case, which means that I will be the attorney who meets with them in my office and is with them in court. However, there are other attorneys in my firm who may carry out some behind-the-scenes work. Unlike many firms, we don’t hand off cases to inexperienced associate lawyers after we’ve been retained.

How Many Criminal Cases Do You Take On Each Year?

There are a limited number of cases that a small boutique firm like the MacNeil Firm can handle at one time, and this is because we want to do a great job on every case. We never allow our caseload to get anywhere close to a point where we feel as though we are not paying as much attention to each client as we should be. We also have to remember that DUI and criminal cases are cyclical, meaning that new clients hire us each month, but we conclude approximately the same number of cases each month. As a result, the number of cases stays relatively stable and will never interfere with our commitment to providing top-quality legal defense and personal service.

Do You Bill By The Hour Or Do You Charge A Flat Fee For Criminal Cases?

Almost all of our criminal and DUI cases are billed as a flat fee. We explain that fee in detail and usually have a written retainer agreement that lays out all of the potential fees. That way, there are no surprises. On occasion, certain types of cases would dictate that we charge by the hour, but that’s rare. If that’s the situation, then we would explain how that works for the client so they would have full transparency on that information.

What Additional Legal Expenses Might I Expect To Incur In My Criminal Case?

In addition to the general retainer fee, there could be an additional fee for proceeding to a bench or jury trial. At a bench trial, the judge sits alone, listens to the evidence, and makes a decision about whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty. A jury trial is what people are more likely to see on television, and involves 12 people listening to the evidence and then making a decision. A jury trial requires much more time and preparation than a bench trial. Additional legal fees could also be charged if we are going to have a hearing on a contested motion, which would involve witnesses testifying before a judge and a judge listening to the arguments of the attorneys. This could be a motion to suppress evidence, a petition to rescind a statutory summary suspension, or a motion to quash arrest. If there will be additional fees for additional services, the client is advised ahead of time and we get approval before proceeding.

How Do You Remain Up To Date On Changing Laws And Procedures Related To Criminal Cases?

I keep up to date on changing laws by frequently attending legal seminars and conferences. Sometimes I present at the seminars because I’m considered an authority in the field of criminal and DUI defense. I attend local seminars in Illinois and Indiana as well as national conferences around the country. I’m always trying to learn more and find new ways to defend my clients.

Do You Belong To Any Professional Organizations Or Have Any Specific Training Or Certification?

I belong to a number of local bar associations as well as national DUI and criminal defense organizations. I’ve taken and passed the same training course that police officers do for certification to administer field sobriety tests, which has helped in my cross-examinations of police officers in DUI cases. As a member of several organizations, I have access to a large pool of colleagues upon which I can discuss cases and bounce ideas.

How Often Do You Appear At The Courthouse Where My Case Will Be Heard?

For the most part, the cases that our firm accepts end up pending in courthouses where I appear on a regular basis. Sometimes we are retained to represent individuals that have cases in outlying counties. Generally, that would involve a situation where my client has a case pending in a small town or county where they feel that the legal community is too closely knit and that the local attorney would not put up a strong defense for fear of jeopardizing a relationship that they have with a prosecutor or judge. In that example, even though I may not be familiar with the staff at that particular courthouse, my client is aware and understands that a local attorney may not be their best option. In those situations, I’m going to do everything possible to protect them regardless of where the case is pending.

How Familiar Are You With The Judges And Prosecutors In My Case?

No lawyer can know every judge or prosecutor, but I’m familiar with most of them in the counties where we accept cases. This is because we practice frequently and see them on a daily basis. If for some reason there is a prosecutor or judge who I’m not familiar with and need to learn more about in order to gain an advantage in a case, then I can reach out to colleagues who would be able to give me specific information that I can use to help my client.

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