A law enforcement officer facing discipline or termination needs to have the very best attorney possible. Today's lawyers are forced to specialize in order to know the law and the procedures in their specialties. A good personal injury lawyer can not serve a client well in bankruptcy court or tax court. In order to select a truly knowledgeable attorney for a police officer, the first step is to look at what the attorney puts into the Yellow Pages or on a website. If a lawyer claims expertise in family law or real estate law, then no matter how much you may like that lawyer, you can be sure that they will be at a disadvantage in trying to represent you in a police matter.
How can you be sure the lawyer you pick has the experience you need? In recent years what was a difficult process depending on word of mouth has become easy. Anyone with access to the internet can use a search engine to find the Rutgers Camden Law School website. By simply typing in the name of an attorney you can see how many civil service trials he or she has handled. Keeping in mind that 80% of all matters are resolved before trial, you can quickly get a good idea of how much experience the attorney has. Most cases are tried when the Chief, Sheriff, or Warden offers no reasonable compromise. When offered no alternative, a case must go to trial.
A second concern in selecting an attorney or defense plan is the actual coverage provided. The South Jersey plan offered by the law firm is not administered by an insurance company. Coverage is determined by the Executive Board of your group. Law enforcement officers decide coverage not a plan administrator concerned with profits.
A third concern in selecting an attorney or a defense plan is the method of payment. An attorney with financial problems may be influenced (sometimes even subconsciously) by the fact that "rolling the dice" at a hearing or a trial may not be in your best interest even though it is in the attorney's best interest financially. The South Jersey Defense Plan is not based on time billings.