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January 30, 2006

Penciling in a murder trial

A lot of law students think they have tough class schedules and that law school is so hard and all that, but what if your calendar looked like this:

I have a murder trial starting in one week.

Holy crap. I have my first misdemeanor trial scheduled in a couple of weeks and I'm freaked out about that (a little). If it was a murder trial? I can't even imagine.

Aside from that stress, “Janet” offers some great insight into the mind of a high-stakes criminal defender:

I always convince myself that i'm going to win everytrial. I think you almost have to. If you don't believe in your case how are 12 jurors supposed to believe in your client. . . . My perspective is I represent each client as if they were a relative. I try to think how would I want my sister, mother, father, etc. treated and represented if they were in my clients shoes.

So there you go: A public defender who is basically motivated by a slightly modified Golden Rule. When put that way, the cliched “how can you defend those people?” becomes “how could you not?”

At any rate, good luck, Janet!

Posted January 30, 2006 10:24 PM | crimlaw

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Definitely things get very stressful when you're actually practicing law. When it comes down to things like misdemeanor trials (which are stressful), multi-million dollar contract negotiations, murder trials, deportation proceedings, income tax hearings for someone who stands to lose a few hundred dollars which could be a couple months of food, etc, you are going to be stressed.

And rightfully so. Attorneys have a duty to their clients to do their best. If you blow something off it could easily be someones live, their livelihood, or your bar card. But the thing is, most of the time attorneys do the best job they can. Many times you'll surprise even yourself.

Posted by: Curtis at January 30, 2006 11:28 PM

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