On a client’s changing expectations

Jefferson and Washington monuments

Client expectations can fluctuate wildly, even within a given case. A big part of our job is to make sure these expectations are both informed and realistic.

On working with indigent criminal defendants

Jefferson Memorial

Five tips for representing indigent criminal defendants: (1) never push a plea, (2) don’t defend the system, (3) never contradict your client, (4) a light touch often works best, and (5) a thick skin will prevent burnout.

On the importance of being heard

Francie Hester art

The Zulu greeting “Sawubona” translated literally means “I see you.” Because it is important to be seen.

Overwhelming clients with communication

Baltimore graffiti

Although we may take the most pride in our skills in the courtroom, clients tend to care far more about how well we communicate with them over the life of the case.

Fielding general questions on D.C. criminal defense

Francie Hester artwork demonstrating criminal defense in DC

I do not charge for free consultations. Nor, as a matter of practice, will I take over representation from another lawyer.

On choosing a house. Or a lawyer.

Baltimore graffiti

Some clients will hire the first lawyer they reach by phone. Others will take more time. They interview multiple lawyers in person. They ask questions.

Starting a criminal defense practice after Covid

D.C. criminal defense practice - graffiti image

The changes now being effected in response to the pandemic — specifically the trend toward on-line hearings — could pose challenges for new lawyers seeking to start criminal defense practices in D.C.

Criminal defense in the Covid era

DC Superior Court family court entrance

We will learn. We will adapt. But as with so many other things in our lives, there will be the pre- and the post-Covid eras. Things will never be the same.

I try cases

D.C. criminal defense attorney

I have taken 63 cases to trial since 2015. I have secured outright acquittals in 23 of these cases – roughly 37 % – and partial acquittals in an additional 8.

Dealing with Stuart Schuman of the Defender Association

D.C. criminal defense lawyer

The file has been returned to me with a note from Stuart Schuman, the misdemeanor supervisor. Uh oh, I think, this can’t be good. I go down to see him.