* Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
Thriving on Chaos.
Criminal defense is not neat and tidy. Successful criminal defense lawyers have to embrace the chaos. For this reason, most lawyers run away from criminal defense work. Fighting for a client who is facing the loss of their freedom and reputation is extremely nerve wracking to say the least. It is filled with complications and contradictions. It keeps you up at night. However, in spite of the chaos of criminal defense, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
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, 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 as we are, fighting for people accused of committing crimes is simply a way of life.
There was a point in my career where I ran the gauntlet of five jury trials in a row. 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 did my job could be the difference between freedom for my clients or spending most of their lives behind bars. 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 a new lease on life.
As strange as it sounds, I love the chaos of criminal defense. I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s and to say that I did not have a very typical childhood would be a vast understatement. However, I believe it is my own tumultuous childhood 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 when I was young. 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.
But I’ve also learned that dwelling on the past does not solve problems. When we are hired, we need to understand the past (the facts of our client’s case), but also 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, things can get hectic. Prosecutors may not see things the same way that we do. Judges may set difficult timetables and unexpected orders. Police may lie. Witnesses may exaggerate or disappear entirely. Any number of other pitfalls may arise. There will be difficult decisions to make. It’s during times like these that we do our best work.
We’re not afraid of 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 of us that can embrace the chaos and aggressively fight for their clients in spite of it, the challenge is incredibly rewarding. My own personal journey prepared me for this life. And I’m ready to put my experience to work for you.