“The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers”

Back in my days with the federal government, before I had my own J.D., I hated working with the lawyers. It was not just that they spoke a strange language and treated each other as if they were… Read More

On the Benefits of a Flat Fee Agreement

Criminal defense attorneys often use flat fees; that is, we charge a set sum to cover the entire course of a representation. This includes arraignment, negotiations with the prosecutor, any legal research that needs to be conducted, preliminary… Read More

A New Perspective on Representing Indigent Criminal Defendants

Three months into my court-appointed work in D.C., I now have a completely different perspective on representing indigent criminal defendants. At the time I quit my job as a public defender in Philadelphia after a three-year stint there,… Read More

The Prosecutor Doesn’t Care About You

There is good news and there is bad news for anyone who has ever been charged with a minor criminal offense. The good news is that the government has a ton of these cases that it needs to… Read More

Joining the Adult CJA Panel in D.C.

I have just been appointed to the D.C. Superior Court panel for adult court-appointed cases. I was one of three lawyers appointed on a “provisional” basis. (Three other lawyers were promoted from the provisional panel to the full… Read More

This Is Not About You Or Me

The prosecutor is mad at me. So I send her a quick email to apologize. It is true:  I am sorry. I am sorry that she has been sick. I am sorry that her daughter has been sick…. Read More

Solo Practitioners Don’t Have A Jackie Frankfurt

We had a tremendous support network at the public defender’s office in Philadelphia. There were social workers and mental health professionals. There were administrative staff focusing on probation, parole, and the expungement of criminal records. If you had… Read More

Court-Appointed Lawyers Who Are Too Busy Should Lighten Their Case Load

I will not take cases away from the Public Defender Service. How can I take someone’s money when that person is already getting top-notch legal representation for free? I am trying to make a living. But I also… Read More

A Prosecutor Melts Down

We had at least one meltdown every year at the public defender’s office in Philadelphia.  Sometimes the meltdown was very public:  the PD throwing down her files and stomping out of the court room.  Other times it was… Read More

It Is All About Respect

The judge takes the bench at 9:15 am. That she does this every day without fail is a sign of respect for herself, for the system, and for every person who appears in front of her. And it… Read More