Evaluating a lawyer/solicitor/advocate/barrister/etc?

I am in a position now where I need to decide upon a lawyer fairly quickly. I can’t really ask any of the “experienced adults” in my life as ideally I don’t want them to know about (for want of a better way of putting it) my criminal activities

My preferred lawyer, incidentally, is one who I “know” because he posts regularly on a message board I frequent (no, not the dope!) so I have some understanding about how he thinks. I am, however, meeting up with another one too, that one selected because she represented me as a duty solicitor for the heinous crime of doing 73mph in a 50mph limit (well I was charged with more but she bargained it down). I do want alternatives though.

So - some stuff is total common sense. I have a bit of that. But I would be immensely grateful to hear tips, any tips at all in fact, both about seeking lawyers and evaluating them. The precise juristriction I don’t want to give because it could identify me with a googling prosecutor, but it’s north of France :wink:

In my experience, if you’re looking to make a deal, you’re probably going to want to hire a local guy–someone who practices in the city or town where your case will be handled. Someone like that is likely to have established relationships with the prosecutor and Judge who will hear your case, and can give you more specific advice as to what to expect in a particular court.