We are eagerly anticipating Tom Wolfe's new novel. Back to Blood, about a certain city that we all call home, is due to be released in October.
As the weather stayed a lot worse Monday than anyone expected, is there any doubt that closing the state and federal courts was the right decision?
The new PDs and ASAs have started, welcomed to our little world by tropical storm Isaac that kept them from exploring the wonders of south florida. A word to the wise to our new young friends: South Beach is enticing but it can lure you with tales of fast cars, sexy bodies, and easy fortunes. None of it is true. SOBE is best enjoyed in small doses.
Now about court. It is as simple as this: Rumpole's First Rule of Being a Lawyer: It will take you a lifetime to earn a good reputation in the REGJB, and just one minute to ruin it.
Let your word be your bond. Be honest in your dealings with other lawyers and judges. When you prep your witnesses, give them one simple instruction: tell the truth. No one wins all their cases. No one case is worth a career or a bad reputation. When judges and lawyers talk about lawyers, they rarely speak about lawyers who never lose, mostly because no lawyer never loses. But they often talk about lawyers who are hard working, well prepared, and honest. Those traits will catch your supervisor's eyes before winning a trial will.
Get used to losing. It provides a valuable experience. If you don't learn from your losses you will never get better. We lost our first three jury trials. We won our next sixty or so before a lesser came back. Every case is an opportunity to learn your craft.
One simple rule about trials. Put in about four or five hours of prep for every hour in court. If you are on the defense side, accept nothing, investigate everything. If the state has an expert, get their prior testimony. Get their college grades. Read their doctoral thesis. Go to the crime scene. Speak to your witnesses. Push and dig and dig and dig until you get the impeachment evidence you need.
If you're a prosecutor, then you are doing justice. What an awesome and wonderful responsibility to have. But never forget that sometimes doing justice means dismissing a case when every cop and witness and victim is angry at you. Satisfying them is not worth the tragedy of convicting an innocent man or woman.
So welcome young ASAs and PDs. And when you're down, and you're thinking you will never get the hang of it, and when you least expect it, a grizzled old lawyer may pull you aside in court and whisper in your ear "Kid, you've got talent. Don't give up."
It happened to us.
See you in court.