Varghese Summersett PLLC is a boutique criminal defense firm known for handling high-profile criminal cases in Texas and throughout the country. Our attorneys are experienced in providing exceptional results.
To learn more about our attorneys, visit: Our Team.
To learn more about our qualifications, visit: Why Varghese Summersett?
Varghese Summersett PLLC
The firm is made up of 10 attorneys. All of our partners are former state or federal prosecutors. Together we have over 100 years of experience in criminal law and we have tried over 550 jury trials. Four of our attorneys are Board Certified Criminal Specialists, which is the highest designation that any criminal defense attorney can reach in Texas.
How do you find the best defense attorney for your case?
First, understand there is no such thing as the universally “best” criminal defense attorney. Even among the premier defense attorneys in the state, different attorneys bring different talents and different experiences to the table. It is part of the reason we have a team approach to our cases – we discuss cases and together identify issues that can be exploited or presented to best defend our clients.
How much should a defense attorney cost?
The cost of defending a criminal case can vary greatly. So too will the quotes a person will receive from different attorneys for the same case. So how much should a defense attorney cost?
“Price is only a factor in the absence of value.”
I will come back to this, but let’s start with an understanding of where most people shopping for a criminal defense attorney are. They have never been in trouble before and they don’t know if a defense attorney should cost them $5,000, $100,000, or many multiples of those amounts.
The cost of a criminal defense case is going to depend on a number of factors, including:
- The offense charged;
- The potential punishment range;
- The complexity of the cases and the potential defenses;
- Whether the resolution of the case requires a trial by jury.
There are generally two different ways pricing for a criminal case is structured:
- Flat Fees: Most state criminal cases, and lower level federal cases operate on a flat rate basis. This means you will know going into the case how much the legal fees are going to be at the outset of the case as long as the case does not require a jury trial. Be wary of flat rate structures that have a “jury trial included” or have no extra charge for a jury trial. The reality is only 2-3% of cases go to trial by jury, so you may be paying for something you will never use. Furthermore, an initial flat rate that includes the cost of a jury trial means the attorney has an incentive to push the case to a resolution without a trial.
- Hourly Rates: Complex criminal cases, such as white collar cases and certain federal cases operate on an hourly model. This is because the amount of work and volume of evidence is hard to predict at the inception of the case.
You get what you pay for – to a large extent.
Some people believe that lawyers are fungible – that any lawyer in a particular practice area could be replaced by another lawyer in that practice area with little or no difference in the outcome of the case. They believe that lawyers within a practice area bring relatively the same skills to the table.
The reality is nothing could be further from the truth. While law school teaches you how to think critically, it is the practice of law that teaches you about the realities of what happens in the courtroom. Even among lawyers, there is a reason why good trial attorneys have so much clout – there is a big difference between being able to look for weaknesses in a case and being able to walk into a courtroom and know what the judge or jury will do. While the word “experience” may now be a cliche in legal marketing, the truth is there is no replacement for the experience, background, and even personality that certain attorneys possess.
Let’s look at another example. Imagine you give the same legal problem to two lawyers. The first is an average criminal defense attorney with very little trial experience, and the second is an attorney who has tried many cases to juries. Let’s also say the first attorney charges $250 an hour and the experienced attorney charges $1000 an hour. Inevitably, the experienced lawyer is going to come to a better and more practical answer, in a much shorter time than the average attorney. Similarly, an experienced trial attorney carries far more weight with the prosecution when they bring up weaknesses in a case even during negotiations. Why? The prosecutor knows the risks of losing the case altogether at trial when facing a formidable trial attorney. So would you rather pay the average attorney $2,000 for 8 hours of work or the experienced lawyer $1,000 for one hour? Or on a flat rate case, do you want to risk your freedom, reputation, and career on a less experienced and less formidable attorney.
“Price is only a factor in the absence of value.”
So now you are wondering, “Why doesn’t every experienced attorney charges $750 or $1,000 an hour?” Remember, the marketplace for legal services is a free market. In other words, if a mediocre attorney tried to charge $1,000 an hour, he would have very few clients and soon no clients at all. So to some extent, a lawyer’s price tells you something about that attorney. If the attorney has established themselves in the marketplace at a particular point, it shows you they are capable of providing value to clients at that price point.
Two Things that Shouldn’t Go Unsaid
First a higher price does not necessarily mean you are getting better service. Even where the market would sustain a higher price, many attorneys lower their prices for a number of reasons, including a desire to be more accessible or to give back to the community. Second, I believe all attorneys should strive to make the legal system more accessible to the general public. To that end all the attorneys at my firm are involved in pro bono work through local and state bar initiatives and we provide assistance through the indigent defense program.
I have practiced criminal law for my entire legal career, first as a prosecutor and now as a defense attorney. All of the partners at my firm were hand-selected and were also state and federal prosecutors. We have tried hundreds of cases to juries in state and federal court. The qualities I look for in an attorney – trial experience, work ethic, and the ability to make compelling arguments to juries – are the very qualities I would suggest a person look for when they are looking for the right criminal defense attorney for their case.
The attorneys of Varghese Summersett PLLC provide comprehensive services in a broad range of practice areas, including:
- Criminal Defense
- Federal Criminal Defense
- Criminal, Civil and Administrative Asset Forfeiture Defense
- Federal Restitution Resolution
Call us for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:
- Discuss the facts of your case;
- Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
- Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.
You can also contact us online by clicking here.