Protecting Your Future With Compassion And Understanding

How to choose an attorney for your expungement case in Washington

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Expungement

Once you’ve determined that your record is eligible for expungement, you may face the time-consuming task of hiring an attorney. A referral from a trusted friend or colleague might make this task easy, but many people are in the position of choosing an attorney for the first time. And there are a lot of attorneys.

Websites like the American Bar Association and Avvo have searchable directories of attorneys to help narrow down your options by location and specialty. Even with that help, you may still have dozens of attorneys to choose from. Here are a few tips for finding the right attorney for you.

A quick terminology note: In Washington State, expungement is more formally known as “vacating a judgment.”


For most of us, cost will be a deciding factor. Depending on the complexity of your case, attorney’s fees on top of court fees can add up to several thousand dollars. You can get a better idea of cost by asking if the attorney charges by the hour or only charges a flat fee.

Since you’re talking money, ask the attorney if their fees include filing fees.

How much experience do they have?

When considering cost, you should simultaneously weigh the attorney’s experience level. The only thing worse than legal fees is legal fees for an unsuccessful expungement. Some attorneys only handle expungement cases, while others may have multiple specialties. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. You should try to find a balance between years of experience and success rate.

If you want to dive even deeper into their record, you can read client reviews. Unfortunately, online reviews can sometimes be deceptive. Just keep in mind that some of the worst reviews (and even some of the best reviews) may be anomalies. People are far more likely to take the time to write a bad review to vent anger over a disappointing outcome than take the time to write a positive review.

Who will you be working with?

Some attorneys prefer to do all the work themselves, including answering the main phone line. Other attorneys may be part of a large firm. When dealing with a large firm, it doesn’t hurt to ask if you’ll be working directly with an attorney, a brand new (inexperienced) attorney or a paralegal. If your case seems to be especially difficult, you may want to have the full attention of the person whose name is on the front door.

Do you like them?

There’s no reason to work with an attorney that makes you feel uncomfortable or nervous. You’re putting a lot of faith, and money, into this person. If you get a bad vibe from an attorney, don’t hesitate to keep looking.