Criminal Defense Experience

The following is from an interview with Virginia criminal lawyer.

What Past Experiences Have Prepared You For a Career in Criminal Defense?

When I was kid I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. I did a handful of plays in school and actually started my undergrad in college as a theater major. In both theater and in criminal defense, preparation is massively important. In theater, you have to know your lines as well as everyone else’s so that if someone forgets a line or messes up, you can just improvise and go from there to help everybody get back on track.

In the courtroom, it’s also important to know everything, so that you not only know your own client’s facts and evidence extremely well, but also the other side so that it’s harder for anyone to come in and surprise you.

Later on  in college I actually ended up changing my major to Psychology which combines beautifully with theater for criminal defense work. I don’t think I have to explain how Psychology comes into play.

Then, throughout college I also worked as a bartender. That line of work is really fast-paced, highly social, and what you take home at the end of the night depends a lot on your people skills as well as how you actually do your job.

I think that experience helped me become a better criminal defense attorney because it gave me the opportunity to deal with all kinds of people and find a way to relate to everybody. My clients now tell me that I’m very approachable and easy to talk to which I think relates back to all of that.

Why Did You Want to Become a Criminal Defense Attorney?

I didn’t always want to be a criminal defense attorney actually. When I first went to law school, I wanted to be a prosecutor because I really liked the idea of throwing all the bad guys in jail and being the hero. Prosecutors just demand a lot of respect and I really liked that.

But, when I was going through law school, I realized that not everybody is actually a bad guy. I interned with the Federal Public Defender’s Office where I did defense work for a year which made me feel more like a hero doing that than I think I ever would have felt as a prosecutor.

My view completely flipped and I changed my mind and I decided I wanted to do defense work from there on out. Ever since then that’s what my goal has been and now, here I am.