Very Few Attorneys Can Handle the Untidy, Pressure-Packed World of Criminal Defense
Criminal defense is not neat and tidy. Successful criminal defense lawyers
must simply learn to coexist with a certain level of chaos and dysfunction.
For this reason, most lawyers (in my experience) run away from criminal
defense work. It is very difficult to find a lawyer dedicated to criminal
defense, let alone a whole law firm. In addition to the complicated nature
of criminal defense law, most attorneys also lack the courage it takes
to properly defend a fellow human being accused of a crime. Defending
a client who is facing the loss of their freedom and reputation is very
daunting. It is nerve wracking. It is filled with complications and contradictions.
It keeps you up at night. However, in spite of the chaos of criminal defense,
I simply cannot fathom practicing any other area of law.
My entire career has been spent exclusively defending the accused, except
for a 9 month period in 2014 when I briefly ventured into other areas
of law. It was a miserable 9 months, but it helped me realize a very basic
fact about myself: I am a criminal defense attorney. Period. Joining The
Criminal Defense Team of Baldwin Perry & Kamish, PC with our exciting
style of aggressive, creative and strategic defense and dedication to
the criminally accused was a perfect fit. For those who are dedicated
to criminal defense, like all of the lawyers in our firm, dealing with
the hectic pace and constant pressures of representing clients accused
of committing a variety of crimes is simply a way of life. I realized
very quickly upon joining the firm that my history as a criminal defense
attorney mirrored the experiences of all of our firm’s lawyers.
On one particular stretch in my career I endured a trial gauntlet consisting
of five jury trials in a row, representing five different clients accused
of committing the following crimes:
murder, rape, aggravated burglary, attempted murder and burglary. I was living on little sleep, lots of coffee and with the constant anguish
of knowing that how well I performed in my job could be the difference
between freedom for my clients or being locked up for most of the rest
of their lives. That was chaos, pure and simple….. and I loved it.
None of the five defendants in those cases was found guilty! Somehow, I had run through the trial gauntlet unscathed. Most importantly,
each of my clients had another lease on life. It is strange reflecting
upon that time period because the harsh reality of being a dedicated criminal
defense attorney is that you don’t really have time to think about
your victories. You have other clients that need your attention and therefore
must jump right back into the fray. I have had many, many more victories
both before that gauntlet and after, but the memory of those victories
fade because there is always more work to do and more clients to aggressively
defend. I am a huge sports fan and certainly believe in the adage that
you can’t dwell too long on your victories because there is always
a new challenge lying ahead. The same is true in criminal defense.
As strange as it sounds, I embrace the chaos of criminal defense. I grew
up in the 1970’s and 1980’s and to say that I did not have
a very typical childhood would be a vast understatement. However, I believe
it is my own chaotic existence as a child that helped me gravitate toward
criminal defense and gave me the tools, passion and skillset to give our
clients the aggressive and compassionate representation we are known for
providing. My parents divorced at a young age. They each had their own
set of issues. I lived in Maine for the early part of my life before moving
3,000 miles away to the West Coast leaving everything I knew behind. By
the time I graduated college, both of my parents had died. I had no siblings.
Relatives were scattered all over the country. When a client tells me
they feel alone, I understand what they mean. When a client refers to
their anxiety and frustration, I can relate. I have been there. When they
tell me that they are scared, angry or confused…I get it. I’ve lived it.
I have held on to a few remnants from my chaotic past. For example, I am
a fervent Boston Red Sox fan because my father loved the Sox. I hold fondly
the memories created with him at Fenway Park. However, I learned a long
time ago that dwelling on the past does not solve problems. When we are
hired, we need to understand the past (represented by the facts of our
client’s case), but also need to focus on the future (developing
a cohesive strategy that will put our client in the best position to attain
the best practical outcome). Along the way, there may be chaos. Prosecutors
may not see things the same way that we do. Judges may set difficult timetables
and unexpected orders. Police may lie or cheat. Witnesses may exaggerate
or fabricate or disappear. Any number of other pitfalls may arise during
the course of representation. There will be difficult decisions to make.
Many lawyers wilt in the face of the chaos and in making these difficult
At The Criminal Defense Team of Baldwin Perry & Kamish, PC, we thrive
in the chaos and in making those tough choices. We take on the challenge
and figure out ways to succeed, sometimes when success doesn’t seem
possible. Criminal defense work is not for the faint of heart. However,
for those that can embrace the chaos and aggressively defend their clients
in spite of it, defending the life and liberties of our clients is a rewarding
challenge. Fortunately for our clients, my own personal journey prepared
me for the challenge.
*Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy*
1 of only 6 Board Certified Criminal Law Specialists in Indiana
Areas of practice:
- 100% criminally related law, primarily all phases related to criminal defense,
including pre-arrest advocacy, trial, appellate and post-conviction relief work.
Criminal Defense Lawyer exclusively (2001 – 2014 and 2015 – present)
- Maurer School of Law - Indiana University- (Juris Doctorate, 2001)
Merit Scholarship Award Winner
- University of Washington - (B.A. Sociology, 1996)
Criminal Defense Education
- Trial Practice Institute (2002)
- National Criminal Defense College (2005)
Sagamore Inn of Courts Barrister - First Place National Award Winner for
Continuing Legal Education presentation
Kathie is married and enjoys swimming, trivia and is a hard core sports
fan especially of the Boston Red Sox and (unfortunately) the New England
Patriots. She also has season tickets to the Indianapolis Indians Victory
Field (where she and her husband were married).