Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paying it forward

Yeah, that's right. I'm guilty. I admit it.

I have borrowed, alluded to and stolen from some of the best in the business. I liked Jeff Gamso's "Rule of Law" v. "Law of Rule" so much that I used it in a post about the aftermath of the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

My basic outline for voir dire is a Frankenstein-esque document with bits and pieces that I appropriated from my Houston colleagues Todd Overstreet and Mark Bennett and the Jedi master himself, Robert Hirschhorn. My basic "playbook" I use in trial is full of ideas and concepts from Big D's David Burrows, Cowboy Lawyer (and TCDLA President) Gary Trichter and Mike McCollum.

That's the thing about criminal defense lawyers -- we're all on the same side. Each of us takes our duty to defend the Constitution very seriously and we know that working together and collaborating allows us to do it that much better. At our seminars we hear other lawyers talk to us about the strategies they used and which were successful and which weren't.

You don't see that same level of collaboration over in the civil courthouse. There everyone is chasing a fee and they protect their strategies and tactics like trade secrets. Giving up those secrets could cost you some clients, and some money, in the end.

Tort reform has made practice in the civil courts even more cut throat as the pool of potential clients dwindles due to the high barriers one must scale in order to collect a judgment.

Over in our corner of the world, reforming the penal code just means more clients as the legislature continues upon its quest to make everything illegal. There will never be a shortage of 4th Amendment issues. Confrontation problems will continue to rear their ugly heads. The police will still make pretextual stops and later try to rationalize why they pulled your client over in the first place.

So, if you see something here that might be useful, feel free to steal it and call it your own. Chances are it won't be the first time it was stolen.

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