San Fernando Valley Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers

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Meet Your Lawyer Before You Hire Him

I got a call Friday from a potential client. I was walking out the door to meet a colleague for lunch when the phone rang. I asked the caller if I could call her back in 90 minutes. She said o.k. and I set off for lunch. When I got back, I returned the call and was told that my potential client was completing the process of hiring another lawyer. My loss, right? Wrong.

For years I have been saying the same things and they are more true today than they were when I first started writing blogs. Please, please, please, whenever possible, meet your lawyer before you hire him. Take an hour to drive to the potential lawyer’s office. Sit with the lawyer. Talk to the lawyer. Ask the lawyer questions. If the lawyer doesn’t have time to meet with you, he is likely not the right lawyer for you. If the lawyer tries to scare you to death, he is not the right lawyer for you. If the lawyer makes you promises you know he can’t keep (even though you hope that he can) he is not the right lawyer for you.

Almost every day I get a call or an email from someone offering me some sort of website marketing service. Many lawyers these days employ full time marketing representatives to work on the websites, write their blogs, or perform search engine optimization. These websites look good. But remember, however good the site may look, that is not any reflection on the lawyers ability to practice law.

Some law firms have full time sales representatives to “close” their cases for them. You may even be talking to a lawyer when you call the firm, just not the lawyer who is going to represent you in the case. One local DUI firm I know has sales reps that actually work in shifts. Some sales guys work during the week and others work nights and weekends. That’s how hard they are trying to sell their services: Not because they are the best, but because they want to make the most money.

They may be harder to find, but these days there are actually lawyers around who still practice law. I do spend a small amount of my time on my website. That time is mostly on weekends when I right blogs. Yes, I did write every blog on my site myself. But, most of my work time is spent practicing law. I go to court nearly every day. I write motions, I do legal research, and I work on my cases. But that’s not where things start.

Successfully defending my clients starts with meeting my clients. In the initial client meeting I find out a lot about my client, their family, their work, and most importantly, their goals and expectations. I need to know about any criminal history, mental health issues, military status and much more.

Learning as much as I can about my clients does a couple things for me. First, getting to know my clients helps me to be better able to discuss their cases with prosecutors and judges. For example, I recently had a client come in and hire me on a large theft case. In speaking with her I came to find out she had a severely special needs daughter. My client was the primary care giver for the daughter and it was obviously causing my client tremendous stress. I had my client gather tons of documents about her daughter including IEP’s medical diagnoses, proposes surgical plans, and much more. I then sent my client to a therapist and a theft prevention counselor before she ever set foot in court for her arraignment.

By the time court came I had a huge package of mitigating documents for the judge and prosecutor. With my package, I was able to convince the judge to grant my client judicial diversion. That’s right, the case is getting dismissed. Why? Because I got to know my client really well. I spent time with her – in person – to get to know her. I did this to try and figure out how to best approach her case. And it worked.

If you or someone close to you has been arrested for DUI, or for any other criminal charge including theft, drugs or domestic violence, call a veteran lawyer who will put the time to find the best solution for your needs. Call a lawyer with a long history of excellent results.

Call me, attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or

Email me at: or visit my sites for more information: or