Achievement can be measured in different ways. For the person who sits down in my conference room, bursts into tears and tells me he or she “did it”, even if they have no idea why they did it, success is not measured by having a tough lawyer who swaggers around and goes to trial when prudence dictates another course. It is measured in reducing that person’s humiliation and pain, minimizing the number of trips to the courthouse and trying to keep as small as possible the piece of sky that is unavoidably going to land on the client’s head. Now for the person who sits down and says I didn’t do it and I don’t want to hear about a plea agreement, trial is where we find success. I think a smart lawyer listens to the client, figures out what the client wants and needs, and then figures out the best way to get whatever that is.
What My Peers Think is a place where you will find some lovely articles that flattered me terribly. Recent Successes is a list of just what it sounds like. The trials are in bold type. I actually try more cases than most lawyers who have been around a while. What the list of wins and successes does not tell you is something that really feels like bragging. I have not lost a trial – just out and out lost – in quite a while. In my world, that means that I have not tried a case and gotten a poorer result for the client than the best settlement offer before trial. I do lose sometimes. About ten years ago, I lost a sexual assault where I told the client to take the deal and that he was being foolish. About five years ago, I lost a two count felony case where I had recommended the settlement offer of one count to the client. About three or four years ago, I lost a drug case where I told the client to take the deal and that the trial was unwinnable. There was another loss in there about six years ago that I cannot talk about without being indiscreet. We did better than the plea offer, however, and it needed trying. There was a trial six years ago where there was never a chance of being offered anything, but I am not sure that the trial did not help us rather than hurt us at sentencing.