By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
I see it all the time. Potential client comes in with husband/ wife/ aunt/ uncle/ brother/ cousin — and everyone is shaking like a leaf and looking like they haven’t slept in 2 days.
My diagnosis: too much internet.
The information super-highway is an amazing tool. I’ve obviously used it to help build my practice. I find people come in now far more sophisticated about their own legal issues than they did, say, in 2005 when I first opened for business. That is a wonderful thing.
What isn’t so wonderful is the internet can be very tone-deaf and isn’t as nuanced as any individual case. People are searching, typically, for comforting information but every case is its own snowflake. Its the same reason every time when my child coughs – the internet can’t get me a precise diagnosis either. I can read about extreme cases which scare me out of a good-nights sleep, though.
And much of what you read is downright horrifying… particularly in a criminal case. Punishment ranges without any context are scary. What happened to some dude with the same charge in nowhere county in 2011 is scary. When some lawyer is trying to scare you into his/ her office by listing the full chain of horrible possibilities — it is scary.
Too much internet research makes you feel like Tony Montana in Scarface having indulged far too much!
Do enough research to get a general feeling for what you are looking at. See a lawyer who lets you know they’ve got your situation under control… and then put the internet away.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has been designated a Super-Lawyer by Martindale. He is based in McKinney, Texas.