Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Practice in General

Why It Sometimes Sucks (And Then Doesn’t…Sorta)

It’s often hard to explain the little reasons it can sometimes suck being a defense attorney, so I figured I’d strike while the iron is hot and write about something that happened recently. It should highlight one tiny little reason why the job can suck. It should also highlight why the job doesn’t just suck all the time, but is more of a roller coaster of suck and not-suck. A couple of weeks ago, I had a settlement conference in a case. The goal was to see if the parties could reach an agreement. The prosecutor and judge were both great to deal with, and my client was very reasonable. He was facing a harsh mandatory minimum prison sentence and understood by the end that he … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Who Needs Lawyers Anyway?

I came across a fascinating post about the unauthorized practice of law after Mauricio Hernandez at the Irreverent Lawyer wrote a post of his own discussing it. It was the sort of thing that took a little time for me to digest before writing about it. For those too lazy to click through, the original article is about a woman with a very strong background in criminal law who moved here then took and passed the Arizona bar before becoming a capital staff attorney in Maricopa County. Ignoring some off-putting personal attacks that may or may not be deserved and a bizarre part in the closing paragraph that tries to make it a red-state-blue-state political problem, it’s a thought-provoking piece about the flagrant unauthorized practice of law by a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Ethics, lawyers, Practice in General, Professionalism

The Life Of A Private Public Defender

Jamison Koehler put up a post this week about prosecutors and professionalism. Here’s the paragraph that resonated with me the most: I am always annoyed by prosecutors who stroll into the courtroom moments before the judge takes the bench. This results in a rush of defense attorneys toward counsel table seeking to speak with the prosecutors before our cases are called. It makes our job that much more difficult. And then the judge chastises us for not having worked out more of these issues in advance. His post was more about prosecutors being discourteous, but I am more interested in the effect on defense lawyers and some major problems with the system in general. There was a time in my career when I took appointed cases and carried a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, Judges, Practice in General, Prosecutors, public defenders

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

Grow!

I’m going for a long hike soon, and for it, I bought a really light tent. Some guy made it himself. I have to seal my own seams because he doesn’t do that. He just makes tents. They’re awesome tents. The guy I bought the tent from has a little store that sells some gear, but he mostly rents stuff to backpackers. If he doesn’t have it, he’s not going to go out of his way to find it and make some cash selling it. He’ll point you in the right direction, though. He’s really nice like that. His store is great. What if those guys joined forces? What if the tent guy found a seam-sealing guy and tried to go big? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Reinventing The Wheel Into Something Else

After reading a post at My Shingle, I clicked through to a post by Jordan Furlong discussing his thoughts on the future of the practice of law. He divides what he calls “the evolution of the legal services market” into stages, the first being what he calls a “closed market,” the second being a “breached market,” the third being a “fully open market,” the fourth being an “expanding market,” and the fifth being a “multi-dimensional market.” He sees competition growing and lawyers having to drastically change what we do. We’re all going to have to think outside the box, reinvent ourselves. My initial reaction was that he was just making up stuff, providing intricate details about a fictional future where his services will be in far greater demand … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing, Practice in General

Getting Internet “Clients”

I’m a big deal. I have a blog. The ABA even gave me a little badgy thingy despite the fact I placed last. Regardless, I’m a badass. Check out what my enduring internet fame has given me: Is my plea going to get better? Do prosecutors quit giving offers after it’s set for trial? And this: Can I possess a firearm? Or have a look at this one: The police are at my door. I’m in New Jersey. What do I do? Need free advice ASAP. No money, LOL. I’m making these up, of course, but the real ones are worse. Trust me. Sadly, these types of messages are the fruits of my labors. I’m no Eric Mayer of Unwashed Advocate fame (have a listen here), … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing, Practice in General

Understanding People

TED is a wealth of inspiration. I recently watched a talk by Andrew Stanton, who wrote Toy Story. Discussing the story’s hero, Woody, he explained the character’s selfishness in the context of his various other, more positive attributes. He noted something to the effect that we are all willing to act certain ways as long as certain conditions are met. It’s true. Experience has taught me that people are rarely just bad. People are filled with desires; they want certain conditions to be met. Some want the sun and moon but thrive in modern society on far less. Others want something very simple and violate society’s norms in all kinds of horrible ways fulfilling their desires. In many instances, the issue isn’t any … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Practice in General

An Unemployed Lawyer Is Still a Lawyer

The legal market is not good. You probably knew that already. There are unemployed lawyers everywhere and probably even more soon-to-be-unemployed-lawyers sitting in law school classrooms around the country. You probably knew that too. It seems like everyone knows it’s a rough economy for legal services, but people are entering the profession in droves. Is it that they all assume they’re the best? That they’re the ones who are going to be first in their class and skyrocket to lawyerly fame and fortune? I don’t have an awful lot of sympathy for law grads struggling to find work. It wasn’t too long ago that I had nothing but a bar number, an awareness that I had no clue what the hell I was doing, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Solo Practice

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