And the Band Played On…

One of my clients went to jail yesterday. It was expected – he understood when he entered his guilty pleas that he would probably be sentenced to jail. But it still came as a dreadful shock, as it invariably does for almost all clients. Somehow he had convinced himself that this sentence he had prepared himself for, would not happen. When it did, his face crumpled in on itself, his body shrank as though he were trying to disappear inside himself. I have seen this many times with clients. It always upsets me.

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Never an easy way out

On the wall in my office is a photograph of Martin Luther King Junior, over the words of one of his quotations: “Our lives begin to end the moment we remain silent about things that matter.” It is a principle I live by – and one I often have to draw to the attention of clients. The criminal justice system can grind slowly.

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Eddie Greenspan fights back

I read with pleasure and respect an article this weekend by Edward Greenspan. Mr. Greenspan is a very senior member of the criminal Bar. He most recently defended Conrad Black against charges in the United States. Mr. Black has been highly critical of Mr. Greesnpan, commenting about his work on the case in the verbose and self-serving manner which characterizes Mr. Black. It is not unusual for clients to blame their lawyers when things don’t go their way. You need a thick skin in this job. But Mr.

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What keeps a criminal defence lawyer up at night?

Whenever people learn that I am a defence lawyer, they invariably ask me the same question: “how can you sleep at night, knowing that because of you a guilty person might go free?” And my answer is always the same: I’m not kept awake nights at the thought of a guilty person going free. What wakens me at 2:00 and 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. is the thought that an innocent person might be convicted.

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