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A skilled trial lawyer, Wes Johnson has been in private practice for the over 30 years with a focus on civil rights, criminal, product liability and personal injury cases. A former police officer and Area Manager for Corporate Security, Mr. Johnson has served as vice president of the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and as a board member of the Oklahoma ACLU. He served on the Curriculum Advisory committee for the Graduate Forensic Sciences program at Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
A frequent lecturer, he has presented papers at national meetings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and conducted Continuing Legal Education seminars in Forensic Sciences for the Oklahoma Bar Association as well as workshops for the Oklahoma Council of Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET). He often serves as a professional consultant for crime scene analysis and medico-legal issues. His professional memberships include the Oklahoma Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers [Life Member] and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a handy checklist of basic questions to ask before you hire a lawyer:
1. What is your experience in this field?
2. Have you handled matters like mine?
3. What are the possible outcomes of my case?
4. What are my alternatives in resolving the matter?
5. Approximately how long will it take to resolve?
6. Do you recommend mediation or arbitration?
7. What are your rates and how often will you bill me?
8. What is a ballpark figure for the total bill, including fees and expenses?
9. How will you keep me informed of progress?
10. What kind of approach will you take to resolve the matter - aggressive and proactive, or will you be more inclined to reach a reasonable settlement?
11. Who else in the office will be working on my case?
12. Can junior attorneys or paralegals in the office handle some of the administrative work at a lower rate?
Privileges, ethics and rules of professional conduct: lawyers have high standards and lots of duties to uphold. Your lawyer must represent you ethically, zealously and within the bounds of the law. Here are some basic ethical and professional rules your lawyer must follow:
- Your lawyer must competently analyze legal issues and exercise knowledge of the law applicable to your case. He or she must communicate with you in a timely and effective manner.
- Your lawyer owes you, as the client, a duty of loyalty. Your lawyer can't simultaneously represent you and another client with legal interests that conflict with yours. An example of an obvious conflict would be representation of both the landlord and the tenant in an eviction action.
- Your lawyer is required to follow your directions in handling your case unless those directions are illegal.
- Your lawyer must keep your personal property separate from his or her own property, and must keep your money in an escrow account. Any time you demand it, your lawyer must return your money or property.
- Your attorney may have other responsibilities to you, depending on your case and the ethical rules that apply in your jurisdiction.
Yes. When you speak with a lawyer about a legal matter, your communications with that lawyer are privileged. This means that, subject to some very limited exceptions, and unless you grant permission, your lawyer cannot disclose to a third party any information that you provided.
A lawyer's time and advice can be expensive. Here are some general questions that all potential clients should be prepared to ask/answer.
- What are your financial resources?
- What kind of arrangement can be made for payment of legal services?
- How much will the services possibly cost?
- What about fines, court costs and other court expenses?
- How can you, as the client, keep track of the legal fees?
- What about a public defender or other low-cost legal services arrangements?
- It is usually best to ask a lawyer about fees during the first conference after you describe the issue to the attorney. The details should be reduced to writing and a fee agreement should always be created and signed so that both the lawyer and the client understand how much the problem will cost and how the client intends to pay for legal services.
Hiring a Lawyer (October 14, 2014)
The law is an important part of our lives. For personal, family or business matters sooner or later everyone needs a lawyer. However, people who would never hesitate to see a doctor for an illness routinely neglect their legal rights. Why? In a country filled with laws and lawyers, when and how to hire an attorney remains a big mystery. How do you know when it is time to shop for legal help? What do legal services cost? And how do you find the right lawyer to suit your needs? It's important to be a smart legal consumer. We are pleased to present a few simple guidelines for hiring the right lawyer at the right time.
Elements of Entrapment (October 30, 2014)
The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not entrapped. Thus, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that,
- Before contact with law enforcement, the defendant was ready and willing or had a predisposition or prior intent to commit the offense, or
- The defendant was not induced or persuaded to commit the offense by law enforcement officers or their agents.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time (October 30, 2014)
Sometimes a person can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. For example, a person is a passenger in a vehicle that is stopped by police. The car is searched and drugs are found. All parties are charged with possession of the drugs. This is what the law says about just being there.