The second month is in full swing and my body still feels like mush. The hardest part about early mornings is my upset stomach. I am having a really hard time eating in the wee hours of the morning. My appetite is not helping with my self-care.
Whenever I tell people that ever since I was in high school I have wanted to be a lawyer, they look at me like I am Henry Hill from “Goodfellas”- “As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to be gangster.” They throw remarks such as “So you’re going to get the bad guys out?” or “what good do you see in the bad guys?” I do a pretty good job at keeping my cool when I am asked these questions. I know they do not see things the way I do. I know they are ignorant and are only going by what society has “taught” them- that “bad guys should stay in jail.”
However, I have been having a lot of meaningful discussions with my supervisor about this issue. He assures me that all lawyers, especially defence counsel, must endure such comments. A question that my supervisor and his colleagues often get asked is “So you’re a defence counsel, huh? So, you side with the bad guys?” My supervisor says that he often responds by saying “Well…it’s complicated.”
Many people believe that because defense counsel represent individuals that the greater society does not care for, they are agreeing with the wrong doings that their clients have committed. This is an absolutely wrong and unfair opinion in my belief.
What it is that defence counsels do? They provide the “other side” of the story, first and foremost. They provide the courts- and ultimately society- a story that no one, and I mean NO ONE, wants to hear.
In this way, it is important to note that listening and appreciating a client’s side of the story does not make what they did okay. It does not mean that lawyers agree with the client's conduct. However, listening to the client’s story, and presenting it in court will make it more understandable. Listening to these stories, in my opinion, also makes us better people. Listening and representing those who literally have no voice is a very noble deed. Unfortunately, this crucial idea is too hard for society to understand, it seems.