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“I've Handled Lots of These Cases”

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It's always been easy for a lawyer to claim, "I've handled lots of these cases," to try to get hired by a client. Now, thanks to District Clerk Loren Jackson, who has brought the courthouse into the late 20th century, if not the 21st, it's easy for a client, at least in Harris County, to verify the claim.

Go here; search for the lawyer by name (blue box at bottom of page):

On the results page, pick the right lawyer. Click on him:

From the next page, copy his bar number into your clipboard:

Now go here, click on the "criminal" tab under "Search Our Records and Documents":

Paste the bar number into the "Bar Number" space:

You'll see a list of cases, ordered by file date descending; they can be sorted by other fields (like "type of action / offense") instead. These are all of the lawyer's cases (at least all of them in the last couple of decades), except for those that have been expunged. So the big wins-the not guilties-will not, for the most part, appear in this list (dismissals, which become expungeable only after some time has passed, will). To see those, you will have to have a JIMS (Justice Information Management System) account, or go use the public terminals on the third floor of the criminal courthouse. But from the comfort of your own home you can at least tell from this whether the lawyer has in fact handled "lots of these cases," whatever these cases and your definition of "lots" are (our exemplar makes my artisanal practice seem high-volume by contrast).

(If this helps you choose your lawyer, send a note of thanks to Loren Jackson, who is working to make the courthouse friendlier not only to the lawyers who frequent it, but also to the laymen who are forced into association with it.)

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