There are lots of people who ask me why I so like practicing criminal defense. I’m not sure I can give them an answer. But here’s how I think of it.
Two kinds of people engage me: 1) the person who committed the criminal act and now wants to get the best possible plea deal, and, 2) the person who tells me they are not guilty of the offense charged and needs to have the charges dismissed or gain an acquittal after trial.
There is, of course, a subset of the second one: guilty people who want me to get them acquitted despite their guilt.
Why do I like this area of the law? First, it’s so important. People face prison if we are unsuccessful. I have clients who face enormous prison terms if convicted.
I feel a special responsibility to those who tell me they are innocent. I can’t take their cases lightly and not only do I work them hard, I also worry about those clients.
But all folks deserve representation. This was the lesson our second President, John Adams, demonstrated when he represented the British soldiers who fired on American protesters in Boston.
We are not our clients. Nonetheless, I hope, always, to serve my clients well.