The overarching answer to that question is the desire to help others succeed on their own with your guidance and support. And from my 10+ years of coaching high school basketball, I learned a few key principles that have made me a better defense attorney.
#1 Teamwork is essential to success.
In basketball there are 5 players on the court at all times for each side, and these players need to work together as a team in order to succeed. It should work the same with law, even though it’s usually a much smaller team.
Unfortunately many lawyers take the “I’ll handle your case for you” approach, instead of choosing to work together with their client. But in my experience I’ve found that’s nowhere near as effective as working together as a team.
When you’re charged with a criminal offense, or a DUI, it’s your freedom, career, family, and financial stability at stake. Those are major parts of your life that you have a 100% interest in. So it makes sense that you’re going to want to be involved in your own case, and it’s important that you are.
You may also have valuable insight or information that could aid in your defense. I’ve worked with clients who volunteered their own plan of action if they were given probation as opposed to a jail sentence. In those cases the judge was actually impressed that these people were proactive and had already figured out a way to give back to the community.
#2 Everyone learns differently, so find other ways of explaining things.
Everyone has different ways of learning. Some people are more visual and need to see things acted out, or drawn out on paper. Other people respond better to written explanations, and some people learn from listening. But no matter what it takes, you never send an athlete on the court until they understand how to run a play correctly. If you did you’d be setting them up to compromise the team and the game.
It works the same way in court.
It’s your case and you need to know and understand why you’re in court that day, exactly what part of your case we are handling, how to behave, and what you need to say or not say that day. If you walk into court without that knowledge, you could say or do something to hurt your own case.
Many lawyers get fed up trying to explain the legal system to their clients, so they give up and decide to handle things on their own. All that does is frustrate clients and put them in a position where they could hurt their own case. That’s not how I operate. I will try as many different methods as possible of explaining everything until you understand and are fully aware of what is going on with your case at all times.
#3 The goal is not just winning, but also personal growth.
We all want to win the big game, and of course we want to walk out of court having won our case. And I will do everything within my power to fight hard and get you the results you want. But aside from just winning, there’s also a lot of learning to be done in the process.
In basketball players often learn from training and conditioning that they can exceed limits they had placed on themselves. It’s the same with my clients.
A lot of times there are other things going on in your life that may feel out of control. These things might even be the reason for your unfortunate run-in with the criminal justice system in the first place. And throughout the legal process it’s important to also look at what behavior got you into this mess so that you can make positive changes going forward. Sometimes that involves seeing a therapist, going to rehab, or working through difficult relationships. But when you face these issues you’ll learn to retake control of your life and come out stronger for it.