When I became the target of a criminal investigation, I found myself in a situation I had never imagined. As someone with no prior run-ins with the law, nor connections to others who had, I was thrust into an environment that was as daunting as it was foreign. My ordeal taught me the critical importance of making informed decisions when selecting legal representation. 

My initial search for a lawyer led me to a prestigious firm, Jones Day, recommended by an acquaintance. Known for its expertise, Jones Day typically serves clients who have significant financial resources or legal expenses covered by insurance. This was not my case. My lack of understanding of government investigations, and the allegations against me, placed me at a severe disadvantage. I naively hired attorneys at an expensive hourly rate, which quickly drained my financial resources without bringing me any closer to resolving my legal issues. 

My relationship with my initial legal team deteriorated due to a fundamental lack of honest communication and a clear mismatch in expectations and capabilities. By not being honest from the outset, I undermined my own credibility and obstructed my lawyers’ ability to defend me effectively. This misstep led to rapidly depleting my financial retainer, and eventually, I found myself borrowing money to retain a new legal team after my original attorneys withdrew, citing a conflict of interest with my former employer, UBS. 

This painful experience underscored the lesson that those facing legal challenges must strive to understand the intricacies of their case and the complex system they are navigating. It’s also crucial to maintain open and honest communications with your lawyers. My situation could have been less severe if I had accessed resources like those offered by Top WCA, which educates individuals on how to ask the right questions, understand different billing arrangements, and realize the importance of self-advocacy. 

Reflecting on my story, it’s clear that the pitfalls of hiring a lawyer without fully understanding the stakeholders and the legal landscape can lead to disastrous outcomes. It’s vital to use directories and resources that vet lawyers based on their ability to advocate, understand, and collaborate with their clients.

Lawyers recommended by White Collar Advice emphasize active client engagement in their defense—be it through community service, participating in courses designed for post-incarceration success, or simply providing personal context to their actions. 

My experience serves as a cautionary tale for anyone navigating legal troubles, especially within the realm of white-collar crime. It highlights the necessity of informed decision-making in hiring lawyers and the benefits of advocacy.

By sharing my story, I hope to guide others in avoiding the pitfalls I encountered and underscore the importance of leveraging resources designed to assist people traversing a government investigation

Justin Paperny

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