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» Entries tagged with "Clients"

What the "Hot-Shots" Do

I judged a law school moot court client counseling competition last week where the competitors were supposed to play the role of a lawyer in an initial consultation. One competitor struggled at times formulating questions, and he told the judges that was because he was concerned about asking too many questions. He didn’t want to know too much. Of the three judges, two of us practice criminal law. The third, a transactional lawyer, deferred to us to instruct the competitor about what to do about that dilemma. I answered by telling the competitor it wasn’t really a single dilemma with a clear answer I could give him right there, but more of a daily reality of practicing law in a field where you represent people. To know what … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, lawyers, Practice in General

The Double-Call

Sometimes one call isn’t enough. That’s what a number of my clients seem to think, at least. My phone will ring, but I either miss it or can’t pick up because I’m busy. Sure enough, the same number will call again after having not left a message moments before. It’s the dreaded “double-call,” a phenomenon every attorney encounters at some point. It isn’t just clients that do it either. Other attorneys, police officers, and legal assistants do it too. Admittedly, the tactic can be helpful. If I miss the first call because I’m a little too slow picking up and the number shows up as unknown, it’s nice to have a second chance. The tactic is less helpful when I’m not picking up … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Inequality

Criminal defendants, especially ones who are in custody and hope to enter a plea, love comparing their cases with other criminal defendants’ cases. “My cellmate was facing the same charges and got a deal to probation. Why is my deal to prison time?” In most instances, they’re comparing apples to oranges. His cellmate didn’t have any priors and didn’t commit the offense while on probation. Of course, that’s not always the case. The disparity in treatment may be real, and the two defendants may be similarly situated. Differences could be caused by an ineffective defense attorney. The defendant may have a lazy public defender who sees no point in trying to get a better offer. He may have an appointed attorney who gets paid extra … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Prosecutors

Thoughts on Work-Life Balance

I’ve mostly avoided blogging about work-life balance up to now. I usually have nothing intelligent to say on the subject, as my idea of balance generally consists of letting the pendulum swing. If it swings too far to one side, it’ll swing back to the other with a vengeance. I keep that in mind and try to avoid letting it swing too far to one side or the other, though I’ve encountered varying degrees of success in my quest to strike the perfect balance. These past few weeks haven’t been my most successful. I recently lost Dakota, my five-year-old German Shepherd, to chronic renal failure. I took her to the vet a few weeks ago because she was limping and seemed in pain. They asked … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Solo Practice

What BigLaw Taught Me

I’ve recently had a few opportunities to interact with BigLaw. I was fortunate enough to see a few honest-to-goodness BigLaw lawyers work their magic in an initial consultation, and I even got to experience, through a client, the type of service BigLaw provides. Being the unselfish guy I am, I am going to share with you the five essential lessons I learned watching BigLaw. Follow these, and you’ll be representing clients like BigLaw in no time flat. 1) Don’t Answer Your Phone That’s right, don’t even think about picking it up. This rule doesn’t just apply to famous partners with national reputations, but also to junior associates. Lawyers may know that you don’t go to court very often, if at all, but your clients don’t. I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Don't Do It

I couldn’t agree with this more. I’ve had a fair amount of contact with law students at ASU through moot court judging, hiring clerks and research assistants, and just being an alumnus. I’ve met a lot of bright, articulate law students. I haven’t met a lot of impassioned law students who want to be advocates and truly believe in what they do. Most of the law students I meet, like most of my fellow law students when I was in law school, don’t know what they want to do. They just want a job, and any job will do. Maybe that works if you want to write wills or review contracts, but in criminal defense, that won’t cut it. It’s a calling. It’s stressful, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Law School, Practice in General

Talking to Civil Attorneys

Because my practice is limited to criminal law, I don’t often work with civil practice lawyers. When I do, it’s usually because one of my clients is being sued civilly for something related to his or her criminal case. I have a few clients in that situation right now. When the attorneys involved in those civil matters call me, I know they are civil practice attorneys before they can finish their first sentence. This is because they always introduce themselves as “so-and-so” from “such-and-such, such-and-such, and such-and-such.” They don’t say “from the firm of such-and-such, such-and-such, and such-and-such.” I suspect that’s because their venerable firms are such well-known institutions in the Arizona legal community that I should instantly know just what they’re talking about. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

"Gen Y" Lawyers vs. "Gen Y" Clients

Posts here and here over at Simple Justice, as well as related blog posts here and here, provide some interesting discussion on Generation Y attitudes. Admittedly, I had to look up what Generation Y means. Surprisingly, that didn’t give me the clear answer I wanted. I’m pretty sure I’m part of “Gen Y.” I did look to Wikipedia for the definition of Gen Y, didn’t I? Isn’t being tech savvy part of it? Anyway, without a clear answer about what Gen Y is, I’m just going to assume I’m part of it. I’m also going to assume that it encompasses all lawyers under 35. That said, I think a large number of Gen Y lawyers do possess the “all about me” mindset and sense of entitlement … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General, Solo Practice

Scary Numbers

I had a sentencing yesterday morning, and I arrived early because I hoped the court would call my client’s case first. The commissioner hearing the case usually likes to start with a group advisement of rights for all the defendants (if they’re all informed of their rights in advance, a judge can save some time because he won’t have to individually tell them what they’re giving up if they choose to enter a plea), but sometimes he’ll do a sentencing or two first if the attorneys get there early enough. While I was waiting for court to start, I had an interesting conversation with the bailiff. She said the morning calendar consisted of 14 sentencings and 90 pretrials. As I sat there, I thought about what those numbers … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Practice in General

Justifying the Unjustifiable

A little while back, I overheard a defense lawyer loudly explaining to his client why a prior felony conviction could be used to enhance the client’s sentence. The client was looking at a fair amount of mandatory prison because of an old aggravated DUI and kept asking why he should receive harsher punishment because of an old conviction for which he already did time. I think those are fair questions. In Arizona, an aggravated DUI is forever an historical prior felony conviction. Once you’ve been convicted of aggravated DUI, you will always be looking at an enhanced, mandatory prison sentence if you are later charged with pretty much any felony. That aggravated DUI conviction will follow you around for the rest of your life, resulting in worse … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, DUI, Practice in General

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