My 1 Year Anniversary

Historic courtroom still in use in Brockville,...

Oh, so that's what one of those courtroom thingies looks like. I'd forgotten. Image via Wikipedia

No, not that kind of anniversary. Men don’t own those anniversaries. Those belong to their wife.

I’m talking about my anniversary away from the courtroom.

One year ago today was the last time I was in a courtroom as counsel. It was a child pornography case (Limewire variety with about 50 videos). There was little I could do to disprove guilt. The electrons told that story. We chose a judge-alone (bench) trial. I pled him not guilty, but acknowledged guilt during opening statements. We just wanted the judge to be fair. He was charged with 7 specifications of downloading, possessing, and sharing (indirectly via Limewire). I explained that he just wanted fairness.

The judge found him guilty of a few, but not all, of the crimes. Then, he sentenced my client to 8 months of confinement, reduction to Private (E-1), and forfeiture of pay. Now, my client is out of jail and out of the Army. He received a characterization of service of General, Under Honorable Conditions.

Prior to that, I had surgery which laid me out for most of February, and before that I had two jury trials in January. Those trials worked well, with one full acquittal and the other sentenced to time served for attempted murder and aggravated assault. Overall, it was a good quarter for me, and I have no complaints. I felt like I left the Army on a high note.

Since then, my trial experience has been a barren wasteland. I’ve had maybe 3 or 4 inquiries from folks facing court-martial, but most were just looking for a reason to justify their decision to go with the free, government-appointed counsel. One was just a bad potential client. I told him to do another search on Google.

Oh, I have business, just not of the trial variety. I still have clients, and they are all quality individuals. I’m not complaining, except that I do miss the courtroom.

When you start a business, you have an idea of what will happen. Rarely are your visions fully realized. From my past experiences as the Army’s version of a Public Defender, I figured I’d get about 1 court-martial case every two months. I know now that my calculations were vastly overestimated. As a businessperson, you must adjust and move forward. That’s what I did.

Too many folks freak-out when the phone doesn’t ring or the flavor of cases are not to their complete liking. They become desperate and think the answer is to throw money around at different targets in the hope that it results in a substantial payback. I think this is folly.

I get emails from marketers seeking to exploit feelings of desperation and longing in folks like me. I delete them.

Some of my peers try to create disingenuous blogs to funnel traffic to their practice. I view this, also, as a folly. The problem I see is that most lawyers seek to create an internet persona. It reminds me of a quote I once saw.

“We are what we pretend to be.”–Kurt Vonnegut

They seek to market themselves as Clarence Darrow (or any other successful lawyer (or perceived successful)). They don’t tell the truth. At the very least, they don’t tell the whole truth.

This is a shame because, if they just exercise a bit of patience and work hard for the clients they have, success will come. I can’t say this from firsthand experience, but that’s what I hear from my mentors who have tons of experience in the field. I trust them, and they’ve never done me wrong.

My practice will continue to focus on my clients–even if I only have one.

My blog will continue to have no focus, no central theme, and very little couth. I like it that way. It’s me.

The real me. The one who will never truly grow up.

If you don’t like it, I invite you to consider the rest of the internet and it’s infinite possibilities.

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