“Are you good?” A Millennial Lawyer’s Answer

You shake his hand. You introduce yourself. You explain confidentiality. You explain attorney-client privilege. You then ask him if he has any questions.

“Are you good?”

* * *

I’m a millennial criminal defense attorney. I follow lawyers like Kathleen Zellner; read books by Terence MacCarthy; watch YouTube videos of F. Lee Bailey; and listen to podcasts by Mark Geragos. But I am not one of them. I’m a junior lawyer, having graduated law school only a few years ago. I have no real courtroom war stories to share or results to advertise. I just have a “good” resume and the resolve to become the best attorney I can be. But that’s not what clients want to hear.

Clients want the best; they want the dream team, because their lives hang in the balance. They are stressed, lonely, and damn near terrified. Grown men will cry in your office when explaining what they’re going though. Their life is on the line, and they don’t want to leave it to chance, let alone to a young, millennial lawyer.

Experience is important. It really is. There’s a reason why most law firm websites have a “Results” page (with a “these results cannot be used to predict results in future cases” disclosure). But experience is not everything. Experience does not write that late-night motion, challenge the police officer on the stand, or deliver the closing argument that seals your client’s acquittal. Experience is not a substitute for the zealous representation your client needs.

“Time is the best teacher, but unfortunately, it kills all of its students.” True statement. Case after case, we learn from our mistakes; we see what we could have done better; we gain experience. And that experience helps shape the decisions we make and the advice we give going forward.

You, however, have to start somewhere. And I submit that with tireless work, humility to learn from others, and the determination to leave no stone unturned, you can make up for lack of experience. You can be a good lawyer, and you can confidently answer your client’s question, giving him the comfort he needs.

* * *

You shake his hand. You introduce yourself. You explain confidentiality. You explain attorney-client privilege. You then ask him if he has any questions.

“Are you good?”

“No, I’m fucking great.”

JustPleadThe5th.com


This is my first original post. Thanks to Simple Justice and Defending People for getting me going.