One of the things that I think is critical to being a quality lawyer is to enjoy what you do. I am very thankful that since I graduated from law school 15 years ago, I have always enjoyed being a lawyer.
As a lawyer, I spend lots of hours preparing cases for trial, holding the State to their burden of proof and researching whatever evidentiary issues all my cases may have. In fact, most of my blog entries focus on the in-and-outs of these issues. However, I learned very early in my career nothing is more valuable than the time you spend meeting with the client. Quite frankly, it’s the part of the career that I enjoy the most. It’s during these meetings that I feel I can make the most difference. It is my opportunity to get to know my client.
When my clients come to the office, it is usually during the most difficult time in their life As one can imagine this is usually not an easy time for people when they are accused of a crime. Often there is a lot more going on than just the stress of a pending criminal case, whether it’s an addiction issue, going through a difficult loss, or simply trying to navigate the emotional aftermath following an accusation.
These are sometimes difficult discussions but they are well worth the time. As our society becomes more and more computer oriented clients ask if it is truly necessary to spend the time meeting in my office. They will always be necessary and can never be replaced by a phone call, email or quick conversation in the courthouse hallway. The personal connection is the foundation of a strong attorney/client relationship.
When I am arguing to a judge at a final sentencing, I am amazed how many times I reference back to something my client and I discussed in my conference room several months earlier at the beginning of the case. If I spend the time getting to know my client, I can then in turn paint my client as a person, not just a “Defendant” to the State, to the Jury, or to the Judge.
Throughout my career I have had many former clients approach me and tell me how well they have been doing the last several years. I have been blessed to see many people get their life back on track and live productive successful lives. When I see people take advantage of these second chances it is a living example of the part of my criminal defense work that I find most satisfying. It is why I enjoy doing this work.
A lot of people think that the accused do not deserve a second chance or could not possibly pull it together to take advantage of a second chance. My experience shows otherwise. As a lawyer, my relationship to my client is often the same we have to close family members – they may have their flaws, but I am not going to sit back and watch someone else push them around.
If you or a loved one requires legal counsel, you may contact me directly at: Vighi@thurmanlaw.com.