What Makes a GREAT Expungement Lawyer?



 We have already broadly discussed expungement laws in California and how to initiate the expungement process but winning your petition begins with who you pick to represent your case. Lawyers are trained to have common knowledge of the legal system, but only a criminal lawyer with experience in expungement has the necessary qualities to accomplish this particular kind of case. So what qualities should a great expungement lawyer possess? For this article, we will divide the qualities a good expungement lawyer should possess in two categories: Personality traits and the skills directly applicable to his or her profession.

*To learn more about what makes a great DUI attorney, click here.

Personality Traits

1) Perseverance

The long hours and difficult exams in law school is just the beginning of a successful career as an expungement lawyer. Once a lawyer has passed bar exams and sworn oaths, he or she has to face a much more difficult environment than experienced in moot courts. Sometimes, not everything will go as planned during the client’s expungement process. A great lawyer plans for the unexpected and persevere through the hard times.

2) Creativity

Practicing law requires attorneys to think logically and analytically; however, great lawyers know that the key to a successful defense is creativity in problem-solving. A creative lawyer who thinks outside the box has the skill to outmaneuver any challenge that may be thrown your way.

3) Assertive, Not Aggressive

Most people think that aggressiveness is a key quality in successfully practicing law. While this is true on some level, we often take it out of context. While an aggressive demeanor can show competence, an assertive demeanor allows a lawyer to remove ego from the situation and be a more effective lawyer. During the process of getting your expungement, the prosecution might challenge your request, and this will be frustrating for you. An assertive lawyer will always maintain a balance between your needs as a defendant while respectfully challenging the opponents stand. A lawyer who is more aggressive than assertive only looks for short term solutions and he or she will often fail to consider other’s positions when it diverges from his or her client’s. This lack of respect towards others’ opinions can cause a strain on interpersonal relationships and can create an uncooperative environment which makes winning a case difficult.


Skills, Competencies, and Experience

1)     Is He or She Registered?

Before approaching an attorney and requesting for his or her counsel, you might want to consider conducting your own research. Is he or she registered in any Bar Association? You’d be surprised how many phony lawyers are actually operating without a valid license. Luckily, every lawyer with a valid and active license is registered under the State Bar of California. This makes it easy for potential clients to scout for a legally registered attorney within the state.

2)     Experience

Finding out whether your attorney is registered is just the first step towards obtaining the ideal expungement lawyer. Determining whether he or she has the necessary experience required to handle your case should be the next step. Lawyers are usually required to have some general knowledge of common law, but only a criminal lawyer who has dealt with several clients seeking expungement (with successfully) knows all of the ins and outs of the process. References from past expungement clients are a great way to determine his or her experience in the field.

3) Public Speaking Skills

A great lawyer is one who has mastered the art of self-expression and public speaking. Making arguments before the court and appealing to the judges or jury before him or her requires a great deal of courage and confidence that only an experienced lawyer embodies. Part of this includes reading your opponents and the general aura of the room to formulate the best way to appeal to listeners.

4) Research Skills

The ability to conduct detailed research quickly and thoroughly is essential to understanding the client’s needs and preparing legal strategies. The more informed an attorney is about his or her client’s situation in comparison to other pre-existing cases, the more likely he or she is able to produce a favorable case outcome. Attorneys are only able to make strong strategies if they can absorb, comprehend, and apply new-found knowledge to aid in making your case run smoothly throughout the process.

5) Writing Skills

This might seem pretty obvious to common people, but writing is a skill that lawyers also need to master. The amount of paperwork required during the entire process is massive. This is one of the reasons why proceeding per se in court litigations can prove to be a challenge for self-represented defendants. While the legal system has made it easy to acquire forms through online databases, you might still be required to prepare other complicated forms such as a motion to petition for expungement or other legal briefs. Having an experienced criminal lawyer by your side reduces the likelihood of any delays due to frequent recalls or getting your petition flat out rejected by the court.


A criminal record serves as a permanent black spot in one’s life. That doesn’t have to be the case if one is willing to start afresh. At Criminal Defense Heroes, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance at living a great life free from the biases and stigma that comes with a bad record. Please reach out to Don Hammond, California’s Criminal Defense Hero to help you through a successful expungement process.