“It’s the client I care about, not the charges.”
Prospective clients often ask, “Do you handle _?” If the case involves or might involve a criminal accusation of any type, the answer is “yes.”
It’s the client I care about, not the charges. People hire me to defend them and their organizations against a broad spectrum of criminal accusations. As a result, I take on everything from straightforward DWI cases in state court, to money laundering and complex drug conspiracies in federal court, to document-intensive environmental, insurance, and securities law violations with aspects pending in several jurisdictions at once.
My general approach to criminal defense is simple: 1) Know the client and the facts of the case better than anyone else, 2) prepare every case as though it were certain to go trial.
I like trials, I trust juries, and I try a significant number of cases to juries each year. In my experience, however, most if not all clients would rather I bring their cases to favorable conclusions without the time, anxiety, and potential publicity that jury trials produce. The best way to avoid a trial is to prepare for trial. The platform for all negotiations with the prosecution comes from answering this question: what will happen if this case goes to trial? Successful negotiations don’t come from empty saber-rattling. Dismissals and “sweet deals” come from prosecutors who realize they are facing off against a skilled trial attorney who possesses a better command of the facts and a superior knowledge of the law, and who will not hesitate to put his client’s case in front of a jury.
Another common question from prospective clients is whether or not I know the judge or the prosecutors. If the case is pending in Travis, Williamson, Hays or Bastrop County or federal court in Austin, it’s a near certainty that I have a good professional relationship with all of the courthouse personnel connected to your case. Emphasize the word professional. Unlike some lawyers, especially those who used to work as prosecutors, I adamantly refuse to develop close personal friendships with the prosecutors I encounter in court. This does not mean I hate them or disrespect the work they do. To the contrary, there are quite a few prosecutors I enjoy seeing and working with in the courthouse every day. But ours is an adversarial justice system, and it demands that I zealously pursue my clients’ best interests at all times. I find that much easier to do when I’m not worried about whether doing my job as an attorney is going to hurt a friendship.