By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
My name is Jeremy Rosenthal. I eat nails. I crawl on broken glass. When I’m not screaming at prosecutors or judges for my clients, I’m having a 30 Lb. medicine ball slammed into my abdomen like Rocky Balboa training to take on the planet.
I suspect all lawyers – let alone defense lawyers – are regularly asked by prospective clients if they are “aggressive,” “tough,” or if they are “a fighter?”
Truthfully, I’m not the best person to answer the question. I’d say go ask some prosecutors how fun I am in trial. I’ve been at this long enough to be pretty sure I’m not the path of least resistance for them — but again — this is for them to answer.
I’d like to make two points in this blog. The first is the question itself assumes being aggressive is the right approach in any given case. Second, is being an aggressive, tough fighter isn’t mutually exclusive with other skills which make an excellent lawyer.
It would be interesting to be asked if I was “thorough,” “meticulous,” and “calculated…” Just once I’d like to be asked if I was “sensitive,” “encouraging,” and “thoughtful.” Maybe today someone will try to see if I am “charismatic,” “clever,” and “crafty.”
It takes all these skills — and more — on many cases. There is a right time to turn up the aggressiveness and toughness. There is a right time to be calculated, a right time to be sensitive, and a right time to be charismatic (to the extent I can turn that one on and off).
Ultimately a person needs to choose a lawyer which makes them feel comfortable.
But your lawyer needs to have a complete game. They need to be a Swiss Army Knife of skills because each case is it’s own snowflake. There are cases where I’ve made courthouse enemies for decades and there are cases where we need to pay attention to the carpenter’s rule – measure twice and cut once. Sometimes both are appropriate given the case.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is a lawyer licensed by the State Bar of Texas and is Board Certified in Criminal Law.