I’m a Lawyer in Training…Not a Miracle Worker!
ORIGINALLY POSTED 11/2/11–Like in the movie Jerry Maguire when Tom Cruise outs himself by writing a manifesto about sports agents making too much money, this semester in my Criminal Law Practicum has inspired me to make a confession of my own: I don’t think I’m cut out to be a criminal defense lawyer.
The class concept is pretty interesting. The professor gave us a CD with tons of files on it; some contain practical information about criminal defense like drafting a client agreement, setting up a fee structure, and resources to use in working up a case. Another huge part of the CD is the material we’re using for the class—an actual case file from indictments all the way through sentencing. Using this material we are to be the Defendant’s lawyer and “work” the case from beginning to end. We have an assignment (or two!) to complete each week that covers some part of the trial—bail setting, various pre-trial motions, opening and closing arguments etc.
After my initial review of the lengthy case file I concluded that my “client” is a violent five-time convicted felon—a thief, a robber, and a burglar. In a span of eight years he was given several chances at probation and blew it every time. Now, I’m to defend him on two counts of aggravated robbery. Because of his glorious history he’s looking at 25 to life. Depressing. It’s been hard for me to work this case because, frankly, I think my “client” is a scumbag and probably deserves to get life.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that everyone deserves a good defense—I just don’t know whether I have to be the one that provides it. I guess that’s part of the fun of law school. While we are here in this safe place we can try on many hats. We see what fits and what doesn’t. In the end, if we’re lucky, we find something that ignites our soul with passion and conviction. Speaking of, I have a feeling my “client” is up for a conviction of his own. Not even F. Lee Bailey could get him out of this mess.