What is your opinion regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?
Clients should be fully informed of the legal issues in their cases. The defense of a criminal case is a team effort, and an educated client is an invaluable asset to the defense team.
Are you willing to review documents prepared by clients?
I am willing to review documents prepared by clients.
Are you willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?
Lawyers are not necessary to the defense of every case. For example, in certain kinds of misdemeanor cases, clients are usually offered deferred prosecution conditioned upon attending (an) educational class(es), or reduction of a misdemeanor to an infraction at arraignment. In cases where there are no factual defenses or legal issues, I have often counseled clients on how to take advantage of non-conviction alternatives without incurring additional costs of legal representations. In other words, I am willing to help clients help themselves when they really don't need a lawyer.
Why did you decide to be a lawyer?
I have been fighting the government all of my life. When I was a young, I was arrested in a civil rights demonstration and participated in numerous acts of civil disobedience in response to government-sanctioned race discrimination and an unjust war. I spent the early part of my adult life as a musician, playing music all across the United States, oftentimes in support of unpopular political causes. Approaching mid-life and starting a family, I wanted to be at home more. And I decided the best way I could stay at home -- and keep faith with my counterculture values -- was to become a lawyer.
What work experience and education helps you be a better lawyer?
I've spent many years of my life in the trenches, defending the poor. The prosecution always has a lot more resources than all but the richest defendants. Over the years I've learned to make a little stretch a long way.
Why did you decide on your primary area of practice?
When I first became a lawyer, I found myself in a high-rise building arguing about money with a bunch of corporate lawyers. At around the same time, I was "interning" at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, doing cases for free in an effort to learn about juvenile delinquency and criminal defense practice. I soon came to the realization that I could have been in any business, if all I wanted to do was argue about money. The best thing about being a criminal defense lawyer is the opportunity to be an advocate for something far more precious than money -- freedom!
What do you like best about your career?
I love hearing the words, "case dismissed" and "not guilty."
Tell us about your law firm:
I am a solo practitioner so my clients deal directly with me.
What are your strengths and style?
I'm a hard worker and I know that close cases are often decided in favor of the lawyer who works the hardest.
I love baseball, blues, folk music -- and rock and roll (but not necessarily in that order)...