Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Young Lawyer's Concern Over Indigent Defense. Your Help Is Needed

When the story of the inexperienced Joseph Rakofsky and his representation in a murder case hit the internet, the divide between real lawyer and today's internet-created lawyer came to light. The real lawyers, i.e., those who created practices through the old fashion way of word of mouth, referrals, and competence gained through mentors and hard work representing clients, met the internet-created liar - the new style lawyer whose reputation was created through typing words and phrases on a keyboard - claiming to be "aggressive" and having "expertise," that in the real world, was a complete farce.

I previously wrote about how real lawyers responded in shock. "How could this happen," they asked?

More importantly, one real lawyer said: We need to do something. I tell my clerks and interns this is not law school. "We deal with real people whose lives and freedom are on the line by what we do or don't do. If you cannot commit to the level of effort required, then go do something else.

Well here's the chance to do something, to offer some thoughts, assistance, or tips to this young lawyer, admitted to practice in November of 2009, showing honorable concern for the state of indigent defense in his home state, and seeking advice on the American Bar Association's "Solosez" listserv:

On Apr 22, 2011, at 9:41 PM, John Wait wrote:

Quite possibly by July next year, North Carolina will have public defender offices in every county. What the hell am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to get courtroom experience and earn bread and butter pay while I am trying to build a reputation as a civil litigator? Law schools are churning out more and more lawyers, and the opportunities to get hands on experience get smaller and smaller. I need business plan ideas, immediately, from those of you who work in states where there is already a public defender in every county. Here are my ideas:

1. Bite the bullet and pay for traffic ticket lists. Do mailings.

2. Pay for SEO to increase my website's search engine effectiveness.

3. Continue networking as much as possible.

John Wait

Comments are open. Please help this young lawyer with his dilemma. We owe it to the profession.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer.Share/Save/ rules Post to Twitter