If You Can’t Afford a Lawyer, Just Pay the Fine

Aerial view of DC

Defense strategy of pro se defendant this morning consisted mostly of making faces during the police officer’s testimony.  Note to self:  Not real effective.  Surprisingly enough, the prosecutor still felt the need for argument.

Rakofsky v. The Washington Post: Being on the Other End of the Attorney-Client Relationship

Jefferson and Washington monuments

Over at My Shingle, Carolyn Elefant muses about finding herself on the other end of the attorney-client relationship; in this case, as one of over 80 defendants in what started out as Rakofsky v. The Washington Post, what… Read More

Lives of “Quiet Desperation”: More on Jailhouse Lawyers

U.S. Capitol building

Over at Chicago Criminal Defense, Marcus Schantz writes about the challenge of representing an incarcerated client who fancies himself a lawyer. With much at stake, time on his hands, and access to a prison “library” (often a converted broom… Read More

Rule 1: Get The Money Upfront

American flag

One of the advantages to being a criminal defense attorney, at least one who defends people accused of street crimes as opposed to white collar offenses, is that you get your money upfront. There is the initial negotiation…. Read More

The “Almost Went To Trial” Blues

Jefferson Memorial

You are wearing one of the good suits you save for trial.  Your trial notebook is at your side. You got up early to exercise, and now you are feeling rested, relaxed, and confident.  You don’t go to… Read More

What This Criminal Defense Lawyer Looks For In A Client

  JW, one of my favorite readers/commenters, has proposed a blog topic.  He says he has read a lot about what a client should look for when hiring a criminal defense lawyer. Now that JW himself is in… Read More

Flat Fees Versus Hourly Rates In A Criminal Case

Jefferson Memorial

There is no good way to charge for legal services, I am persuaded. Clients come in need. They are afraid and angry. They want a hero, a savior, a warrior. You offer them what you can. Most often… Read More

On Firing A Client

American flag

There is always a lot of discussion over at the ABA listserv Solosez about client relations.  People talk about the need to sometimes fire a client, which, from what people say, almost seems like a rite of passage… Read More

Juvenile Court Forever

U.S. Capitol building

You watch him go.  You realize that, from his perspective, the future is nothing more than a quick visit with the judge, a bologna sandwich and coke for lunch, and then a trip back to the detention center to gather his things.  So yes, you think again, this time with more certainty, it will be for forever.

On Rushed and Ill-Considered Guilty Pleas

Last summer, my 19-year-old daughter decided that she wanted to come see me in court.  I had just given notice of my intention to resign from the Defender Association of Philadelphia effective at the end of the month,… Read More