On Giving My Cell Phone Number to Clients

U.S. Capitol Building

I have always given out my cell phone number to clients. In almost seven years of practice, I have never once regretted doing this. I even did this as a public defender when I had far more clients… Read More

Goodbye to Dana Tapper and the PDS Summer Interns

U.S. Capitol building

Summer is over, and the Public Defender Service (PDS) interns assigned to the Youth Services Center are gone. Although I never met any of them in person (they were there during the day, and I visit clients evenings… Read More

Leaving the Drama — and Surprises — for Closing Argument

U.S. Capitol building

Your client is cranky with you for the lousy job he thinks you are doing on cross-examination. There are no dramatic “gotcha” moments like you see on T.V. Instead, every time you elicit what appears to be an… Read More

Met and Unmet Client Expectations

Aerial view of DC

Over at Tempe Criminal Defense, Matt Brown has been talking about expectations – client expectations and his own.  “The angry client rant is tough,” Brown says. And the problem, he says, starts with expectations. Clients expect the system… Read More

Probation. Drugs. School. Then Home.

American flag

I have a little speech I like to give to my juvenile clients. I tell them that, while I will be looking out for their legal interests as their lawyer, what happens to them pending trial or if… Read More

Managing Client Expectations

Indigent criminal defendants often have two simultaneous and potentially irreconcilable opinions of the lawyers who are appointed to represent them. On the one hand, they have absolutely no respect for the public defender or court-appointed lawyer. You aren’t… Read More

Get Out of My Office: A Hypothetical Interview With a Potential Client

U.S. Capitol Building

A woman and her son come into the office for a consultation. At the end of the hour, the woman turns to me and tells me that they have also met with a number of other criminal defense… Read More

Grace. Class. Loyalty to the Client.

Aerial view of DC

  “I want a new lawyer.” The defendant and his lawyer have clearly had some type of disagreement, and this is what the defendant, standing at the bar of the court alongside counsel, says to the judge. Who… Read More

Dealing with the Parents of a Juvenile Client

  My client’s mother is annoyed with me.   She disagrees with her 16-year-old son’s decision to take his case to trial, and she is convinced I am the one who talked him into it.  She’s partially right; in… Read More

Representing People, Not Files

  A supervisor at the Philadelphia public defender’s office used to tell us all the time that we were representing people, not files.  This really got on our nerves.  As one colleague put it:  Maybe he needs to… Read More