Defense Attorneys are Super Heroes

Defense Attorneys are Super Heroes

Nov 11

I’d like to take a moment and say something too few people do: defense attorneys are the superheroes of the legal system, and we could use more of them.

I want to make clear that they get superhero status whether they are defending rich clients or poor ones and whether they are fighting false charges (the only time anyone depicts defense lawyers heroically) or simply trying to get the best outcome for their guilty clients.

That last point is the most controversial. People tend to associate a lawyer doing their job with the assumed guilt or innocence of the client. If people perceive the client as guilty, they perceive the lawyer in negative terms as well. And vice versa.

But no matter who they are defending, defense lawyers are on the right side. That’s because our system insists everyone deserves an advocate. Everyone deserves to put their best case forward and try to get the best result possible. That requires defense lawyers to be creative, loyal, and incredibly intellectually rigorous. It’s a tough job, and it is one we need to be performed for the system we live with to function.

In fact, what our system needs is more defense lawyers and more lawyers who solely focus on defense. As James Powderly points out on his law firm’s site, it does a disservice to both clients and the system in general for lawyers to spread themselves thin over too many areas of practice. Or, as he puts it, “When facing a serious criminal charge, it makes sense you hire a lawyer who devotes all of his time and energy into defending criminal cases as opposed to a lawyer who has a general practice and does a little criminal defense and also does family law, personal injury, wills, contracts etc.”

While it makes sense to feel upset when we feel some trial or other has given the wrong judgment, we need to keep in mind that those who are making the system work are all, overall, on the side of law and order, and above all, justice and fairness.

That means it’s not just defense attorneys but prosecutors and judges as well who deserve superhero status. In fact, we could do with more hero worship of those who are maintaining our justice system in general.

It’s easy these days to become cynical about everyone and everything. But we need these people to make the system work.

The truth is, we need lawyers. And we should be glad we have them.

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