Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Clients

Why The Work Never Ends

I started work today with the best intentions. I had a list of what I had to accomplish along with a realistic plan of attack. After I sat down and finished my first task, a call came in: CLIENT: A detective came to see me and I pled guilty ME: What? CLIENT: It’s an emergency. I pled guilty. ME: You mean you confessed? CLIENT: Yeah, I pled guilty. I told him all the other stuff I did. ME: Did you say you had a lawyer? CLIENT: No, I just talked to him. He read me my rights and stuff. ME: Why did you talk to him? CLIENT: I don’t know. We’re gonna need to add the new charges to the current plea. ME: What new charges are there going to be? CLIENT: It doesn’t matter, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Just Callin’ To Chat

I often get emails with convoluted stories that appear to have nothing to do with criminal defense. For instance, the sender will discuss her sick dad, her faith, and her wicked stepmother. There will be no obvious relevance to my line of work, but when I call, I will invariably speak with an individual charged with embezzling funds from her dad’s savings account and assaulting his new wife but who couldn’t have possibly done it because she’s a pillar of the mega-church she attends whenever she isn’t in the custody of the department of corrections for various financial and violent crimes. I’m making up the example, obviously, but reality isn’t all that different a lot of the time. One recent message and the ensuing conversation left me really … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Except For That, Of Course

The silliest part of any guilty plea is the part when the court asks if anyone has threatened or coerced the defendant into pleading guilty. People are inclined to say no when it’s obviously the answer the judge wants to hear no matter what the circumstances happen to be. The desire to please is intense enough when the person asking the incriminating question has a badge and gun, but it’s even more powerful when the person asking sits high above the fray wearing a robe and keeps getting called “your honor” by everyone in the room. Several of my clients have given an admirable hell yes and briefly tried to elaborate before being cut off by others suddenly made aware of the absurdity of the question. I respect the clients … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts

Picking the Wrong Lawyer

Yesterday wasn’t such a great day for me. After losing a bench trial I doubt I would’ve lost had it been in front of a jury, the judge informed my client the she had a bench warrant for failing to appear in another pending case in the same jurisdiction. There was a police officer waiting in the gallery to take her into custody. My client had hired one of those firms with billboards and posters everywhere to handle her first case. Dissatisfied with the representation, she hired me to handle the second. She complained about how hard it was to reach her other lawyer and how she felt he kept her in the dark about everything. My experience trying to stay in the loop with the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Ethics, Judges

Jerk or Chump?

I trust very few people to do their jobs competently; it’s the product of a wealth of experience watching people suck at the simplest of things. Indeed, it is often the simplest things that people mess up the most, and of all those things, few are simpler than doing what you say you’re going to do. If you don’t want to do it, don’t say you’ll do it. If you say you’ll do it, then go ahead and do it. It’s so easy, but it’s practically impossible for many. A few months ago, I was dealing with a prosecutor for the first time, and she said she would run something by her boss and get back to me. As time passed, I figured she had either … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General, Prosecutors

It’s Lonely Being Perfect

I set aside a few hours on several different days during my recent hike to make sure everything was okay back at the firm. On those partial “work” days, I mostly made sure my clients were happy and everything was going as planned in their cases. I returned calls from a few prospective clients as well. At first, the prospective clients would leave polite messages. They’d ask that I call them back at my convenience, acknowledging that my voice mail greetings said I would have limited availability until May. A few wished me well on my walk and said they’d be contacting Adrian because time was of the essence. What nice people I get to meet sometimes. At some point after climbing onto the Colorado Plateau, however, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General

Defining a Win

There’s a mostly-written motion still up on my office computer screen. When I finally close the file, I’m going to try not to read it. It will just make me angry. My client’s case was dismissed on Friday, but there were strings attached. He agreed to a $200.00 forfeited collateral on a new citation in exchange for a complete dismissal of his federal criminal case. Compared to a lot of defendants, the result was great. In most cases, I’d be happy. This case is a little different. It shouldn’t have been charged in the first place. The statute containing his supposed violation is so broad it could mean almost anything. I might be violating it by writing this post, and you could be violating … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

The Future Former Lawyer of Lindsay Lohan

Every lawyer wants his name in lights, right? We all crave billboards and bus stop signs and seeing our faces on the evening news at least once a week, right? Any attention is good attention, isn’t it? Why then aren’t lawyers throwing elbows to help out tabloid superstar Lindsay Lohan? This blurb at the Superficial amusingly jokes about Lindsay Lohan’s newest lawyer’s performance and her reaction: Within the first five minutes of representing her in court he hit on the judge then spent the rest of the time rubbing his lucky rabbit foot which even to someone as dumb as Lindsay Lohan, was a sure sign she’s going right the fuck to jail. So now she wants a new lawyer, but surprisingly there’s not one in Hollywood who will … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, lawyers

Commodities

A while back, Chicago lawyer Kevin Case wrote a fascinating article about the commoditization of symphony orchestra musicians. He describes the lamentable fact that many managers in the arts world view artists as faceless, interchangeable parts of a big machine instead of the uniquely talented individuals they are. It isn’t just a problem in the music world. I regularly get emails about the next big thing in lawyer marketing. People only find lawyers on the internet, I hear. They use search terms I’d never expect or go to sites I’ve never heard of. Old-timers clinging to antiquated marketing ideas are supposedly destined for failure, so lawyers must adapt. We’ve been commoditized, and we’re being traded primarily on the internet. Those of us who don’t … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Marketing

Great Expectations

Part of my fee agreement explains how my fee in each case is based in part on a variety of considerations, one of which is the expectations of the client. Many of the other listed factors, like the urgency of the matter and the necessity of declining other work, once seemed far more important to me. Over time, they have come to pale in comparison with client expectations. For the client who wants to walk, beating the main charge but being convicted of a lesser is a massive disappointment. It doesn’t matter if they’re avoiding a murder conviction in favor of a lesser charge or just beating the part of the DUI charge that would have made it a felony. Any conviction is a failure. It’s the same … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

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