First week in a Criminal Defense law firm

The law offices of DMR focuses on criminal defense, civil rights litigation, divorce, and landlord / tenant cases. The context of such a practice directly impacts the clientele it attracts and it’s overall atmosphere. For instance, two major cases I focused on this week involved an ex-Marine officer charged with larceny and a divorce. I have noticed that most of the criminal defense cases involve clients who are currently incarcerated; this element of the practice greatly affects the leadership of the main attorney of the firm. Devon, the partner and owner of DMR, maintains a tough personality for these cases. Her leadership is catered to representing many convicts who are mostly found guilty of various crimes. For the most part, Devon seems to serve as an advocate to ensure their sentence is fair considering the nature of the crime. Her leadership both to her client, as well as to the prosecution and the judge, is extremely attentive to her position as a representative to clients that may not otherwise have a voice. For instance, the case regarding an ex-Marine officer, Devon aimed his case to be moved to a Veterans court. Considering his drug addictions as they contributed to his larceny charge, being heard in Veterans court as opposed to criminal court would potentially lead to a rehabilitation program rather than a sentence to be incarcerated.

The commutation between Devon and her clients is always formal, yet sometimes it seems as if emotions play a role when speaking with certain clients. Additionally, when communicating with clients who are already incarcerated, phone call conversations are often limited causing rushed conversation. In the divorce case, Devon’s client came to the office to strategize the logistics of his situation. However, since he was planning on having full custody over his three children, and since the divorce is being filed under cruel and unusual punishment and adultery, the small children who came along were a distraction for the client. Communication between clients and the attorney takes the form of phone calls, letters, occasional visitations to jail, and often quick conversation before a court hearing. Communication between the attorney and the prosecution, which is often the State of New York in criminal cases, is friendly when not held in front of the Judge and professional yet aggressive in front of the Judge.

The values and attitudes of this firm is to provide a personal legal experience amongst clients. I have seen this reflected in the personal calls from jail as well as the writing style within frequent letters sent directly to Devon. It is also apparent within the conversation between Devon and her clients, and how it mostly seems that some of her clients confide in her as a confidant and friend. In regard to the criminal cases, it seems that it is acknowledged when certain clients are to be found as guilty. The expectations in how to handle these cases is to ensure they are receiving sentences that are not overly extreme to their case. Likewise, expectations regarding the values of the firm are represented through the relationship between the attorney and clients. I have found that the relationship between Devon and the DA, who represents the city, tends to help her clients who would otherwise not have any significant representation.  

One thought on “First week in a Criminal Defense law firm

  • June 14, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Sounds like the firm is doing really important work and that the partner and owner is pretty dedicated to the individuals she serves. This was originally an ‘uncategorized’ entry, now you’ve listed it as ‘leader/follower relationships,’ but it seems that in the end, you’re really addressing the ‘organizational culture’ prompt in this reflection – am I correct? Good discussion about the way in which context affects that way in which Devon leads (and serves).

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