I thought that last week's thought-(and comment- )provoking question was a hit.
I thought I'd follow it up with another one this week. I thought maybe I could make it a weekly Tuesday thing. But before I knew it, Tuesday had come and gone. Oops.
So, maybe it'll become a Wednesday thing now. You know, sort of like "Just Because" over at Will Work for Favorable Dicta.
And conveniently enough, Lewis at From Across the Pond has a question for all of us criminal defense lawyers. He asks, "Why is defending the (probably) guilty important to you?"
Personally, I've got a million reasons. The biggest one, for me, is because no one else is. I mean, there's an entire police force, an entire prosecutor's office, court staff, and everyone in the court process all out to put my client away (and don't give me this "But I thought judges were out for justice...") and it's just me and my client (an accused criminal) going to toe to toe with them. It's the ultimate underdog experience. I find it to be constantly thrilling, challenging and fun.
But it's also because I often relate to my clients. Who's never been accused of something they didn't do? And I'm not just talking about crimes, I'm talking about any accusation. It sucks. And I relate to my clients when they do fuck up and do something wrong. I mean, who doesn't screw up once in a while? Some of my clients are great people. Some aren't. Most don't deserve prison (have you ever been inside a prison?). But for the most part, they're a likeable group of people. They're lost in a confusing system.
And because I like helping people. I like giving people correct directions on the street in the same way I like guiding my clients through the maze that is the criminal justice system. I love when my clients call me or send me a note just to say "Thanks for your help."
Did I mention that winning feels great? It gets balanced out with losing, but for however short it lasts, winning, whether you've won on a bail application or a trial, feels great. And I'm a little competitive, so the winning is definitely part of it for me.
And, compared to other jobs (especially other jobs in the legal profession), I find that it's more interesting than most. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. And I get to be right there in it, finding out what's going on, uncovering the story that no one wants you to hear.
I remember, when I was in college, being worried that I'd never find a job that I would love. I looked at my parents, who are ok with what they do, but they don't love it, and I just thought "Man, how can you just pick some mediocre job and just do it for the rest of your life -we're talking decades- just to pay your bills?" What a depressing thought. My job is tough at times (a lot of times), but I like to think that when I wake up in the morning I'm excited to go to work. And that's priceless.
So, that's why I do it. Because I love it. It's not entirely selfless.
Anyone else want to throw in their reasons? It's time to share (again).
p.s. I'll try to stay more on the ball with future questions. If you've got an idea for a future topic, you can email me.