I fell in love with criminal defense from my first week interning at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in Chicago, Illinois. Like you, I didn’t know what happened daily in our country’s criminal courts. I had vague ideas about what I thought justice and fairness meant but, at that time, I hadn’t figured out how I would take those ideals and make them a part of my everyday life.
All of that changed when I started working in criminal defense. I held people’s hands and listened to their life stories – their desires, their aspirations, their upbringing, their mistakes. I hugged their mothers and met their friends. I knew this whole person – someone who was so much more than a court case number – and yet, judges and prosecutors saw another “defendant” on their long list of cases. They didn’t know what I knew. They didn’t know that this human being they were trying to throw away into a cage had a mother who loved him and a child who relied on him and decades of trauma that eventually brought him to this courtroom.
I also witnessed how scared they were. They walked into this foreboding courtroom with hands cuffed behind their backs and feet chained together listening to all these people they’ve never met before talk about their fate. They stood there silent not knowing all of the “legal words” that were thrown around without explanation and then after just a minute or two of lawyer talk, an armed deputy walked them back into a jail cell.
I have represented thousands of clients as a criminal defense attorney and my observations about criminal court have not changed. More importantly, I never forget how it made it me feel. I was outraged. I was so surprised that this is how we treat human beings in the United States of America in the 21st century.
In those courtrooms in Chicago as a young law student, I made a commitment to myself: that outrage would fuel a life’s mission to fight tooth-and-nail for people charged with crimes. To fight for their Constitutional rights. To fight for their freedom. And to fight for their dignity. Doing so has been the greatest honor of my life.
I concentrate my practice on trial advocacy. In law school, I was selected as one of 10 students out of 100 applicants to be a part of the prestigious Philip H. Corboy Fellowship in Trial Advocacy. As a Fellow, I received intensive trial advocacy training. This training set the foundation for a successful career in the courtroom. I have conducted jury trials for everything from driving under the influence to gun charges to sex crimes to homicide, and my skills have garnered the respect of judges and attorneys around the country.
Deciding on who to hire to fight for your loved one’s freedom is one of the hardest responsibilities a person can have. Lawyers make their websites look perfect and invest in advertising, so on paper, we all appear the same.
But we are all not the same. Most of the material you see on the internet can be paid for – nice photos, the words on a website, even many of the awards attorneys tout as a reflection of their skills.
As you make your decision about who to consult, I want to offer you transparency by sharing with you how I work on my cases. No case or client is the same. My goal is to create an individualized strategy for each and every client. This is how I do it.