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Things a criminal defense lawyer should not do during an initial consultation, part 1

I am amazed at the things I hear that lawyers are doing when they first meet with a potential client, particularly a client who is accused of a crime. It’s a big moment in the case, and it sets the tone for the rest of the lawyer’s working relationship with the client.

In the hopes that you’ll be amazed, and, perhaps, amused, at these stories, I’m starting this series on Things A Lawyer Should Not Do During Your Initial Consultation.

The First Thing a Lawyer Should Not Do During Your Initial Consultation is . . . Lecture You.

If you have questions about how federal criminal charges are different than state criminal charges, please visit this page on Maryland federal criminal charges.

When a person has been accused of a crime, he or she can expect a lot of folks to judge them. Prosecutors, police, judges, and probably friends and family members are going to pass judgment on the person. No one needs their defense lawyer to pile on.

Note – this is true, even if the client is factually guilty of committing a crime.

Defense lawyers don’t have to support or condone bad behavior, but they should at least support the person their representing. Part of that means being willing to walk through a wall for the person. Part of that means being willing to try to look at the work from the client’s point of view, and understand their conduct enough so it can be explained, even if it can’t be justified.

But, from what I’m hearing, there are criminal defense lawyers who think their job is to pass along their own moral dissatisfaction with their potential clients, before they start representing them. My suspicion is that that’s a lawyer who really ought to move into another line of practice.

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