Clients are sometimes consciously or unconsciously looking for the “great protector” when searching for a criminal defense attorney. Traditionally, concepts of protection and defense have associations to physicality and testosterone. Let’s face it, not many people are looking for a female bodyguard. But in a criminal case, success is not achieved by physically overpowering one’s opponent. Intellectual firepower, dedication to detail, and dogged commitment are the real tools to success.
If arm wrestling were an effective tool in persuading a jury that a client was Not Guilty, I’d be the first person in line making sure I had a bodyguard at counsel table for every trial. But as we all know, the art of persuading a jury is far more complicated than that. It is the instinct to stand between your client and the moving train coming at him or her that makes the difference and is the cornerstone to protecting and defending a client. The traits that make any lawyer “the great protector” have always been gender neutral.
Debunking the False Perceptions
In spite of this truth, how can we deal with the false perceptions that some individuals have? A potential client once told me when meeting him for the first time at the Federal Detention Center in Miami that fellow inmates were making fun of him because he was considering “hiring a chic lawyer.” I had some kind of quick reply that I can’t remember anymore….probably because I did not get the case. One of the advantages of developing a community for women in this field is to share with each other the best reply to that question. I’d love to hear your reply!