Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the Brigham Young University Law Lecture Series. Of all the speaking engagements I do each year, this is my favorite. Essentially, prelaw students get to hear from attorneys from all different types of practices and they have an opportunity to learn about our day-to-day lives, our salaries and the costs and benefits of our particular career. This year, the students were super engaging. I spoke for about 15 minutes and then fielded questions for about the next 40 minutes. So, what were some of their questions?
How can I defend someone who I know or likely know is guilty?
I honestly do not care if someone is innocent or guilty (nor should I). My job is to defend the system and make certain that everything was done properly. Guilt or innocence does not matter. It matters what evidence the government has in the case. This can also affect an innocent person having to take a plea agreement to manage risk. That scenario is MUCH more frustrating for me than a guilty person walking.
Do I prefer prosecuting cases or defending them?
I much prefer defense. It is way more dynamic and I get to really see the other side to the story.
What are the biggest challenges and or stresses of my job?
The biggest stress is going to trial on an innocent person. We are putting our faith and trust in people that we know little about. One person’s word can convict a person and that is scary.
When do I receive the biggest joy?
I feel like I save lives. My biggest joy is on a prefile case when I am able to get a serious case declined. I save my client from being charged, having a high bail, getting arrested, and going to Court. Any time I get a favorable deal for a client, it makes this job satisfying.
Salt Lake City, Utah Criminal Defense Attorney