As a strategist and defender, part of your job is to be clear headed. When your clients become emotional, how do you remain collected?
There is a lot of passion involved when it gets to certain aspects of the case, especially during the closing argument. However, as far as executing strategy, I have to maintain a clear head and I cannot be taken in by emotions. My client might say, “I cannot go to jail. I have 3 children." However, the unfortunate circumstances are that they were caught red handed in a crime, signed a written confession, and there are 16 witnesses who are all nuns and saw them committing the crime. It does not help anyone by saying; "I can't go to jail on this thing."
Emotions don’t take me in, but I am extremely passionate about winning. I like to win cases. My percentage of successful cases in Cook County and around Chicago is higher than almost any other attorney practicing criminal defense here right now. I take fewer cases so I can focus more closely on them.
Can you elaborate on how taking fewer cases benefits your clients?
I take fewer cases, primarily, so I can pay closer attention to them and, therefore, be more effective. I am much more available to my clients than other attorneys. When there are fewer cases, I can devote my resources to defending those cases individually. I worked at a big criminal defense law firm that had 900 open files and I saw countless lives slip through the cracks because of incompetence or because the lawyers at the firm did not take the time to do the appropriate investigation. They did not go out to the scene. They didn’t speak to witnesses. They did not check to see if what the police said in their reports was actually true. I try to do that on every single case. We take photographs and measurements of the crime scene. We take statements from witnesses. By doing so, we often find that there are inconsistencies between what the actual scene looks like and how the police wrote it up. Part of the reason for that is because the police are so overworked, but it gives us ammunition to use in our defense.