A LAWYER'S PRIMER FOR WRITERS: FROM CRIMES TO COURTROOMS - Written by a defense lawyer with 30 years experience in the criminal justice system and a bestselling author/P.I. Not only for writers, the book is also for fans of legal film/books, researchers & those curious about the world of legal eagles.
Below are several excerpts from A Lawyer's Primer, the first is an overview of criminal defense attorneys from the chapter "Types of Lawyers." Below that are two additional book excerpt links, one on judges (including some real-life "quirky judge" stories; the other is a review (with an eye on what a writer can learn) from the legal film To Kill a Mockingbird - Enjoy!
"Types of Lawyers: Criminal Law"
Under the US Constitution, everyone accused of a crime has the right to a lawyer’s defense. A criminal defense lawyer (also referred to as criminal lawyer and defense lawyer) might work for a law firm or be in private practice. A defense lawyer might also work for a public defenders’ office (to clarify, public defenders are always criminal defense lawyers). Generally speaking, they will make several attempts to settle a case outside of court, but if they can’t, they will represent their clients at trial. Defense lawyers typically work multiple cases concurrently, each at a different stage in the criminal justice system process. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers provides more information about defense attorneys.
Some defense attorneys specialize in particular areas of crimes, such as driving under the influence (DUI), domestic violence, sex assault and white-collar crime. We’ve included nearly two dozen articles in the latter half of this book, many about crimes. If you’re writing a defense lawyer character, check out these articles for story ideas.
Type of lawyer in this field: Lawyers practicing criminal defense are well-versed in constitutional rights, with some lawyers being as passionate about people’s rights as civil rights lawyers. Because a criminal lawyer often spends a lot of time gathering evidence, from police reports to witness testimonies, a defense lawyer often relies on other resources, from paralegals to private investigators, for assistance. According to a psychological evaluation report by OvationXL, who interviewed a hundred top law firms on their analysis of young lawyers’ traits, 59 percent believed criminal defense lawyers to be good communicators.
Defense lawyers are constantly juggling the demands and timetables of the criminal court system, which can be frustrating and tiring. When the authors of this book co-owned a private investigations agency that dealt primarily with criminal defense attorneys, we had defense lawyer-clients whose emotions ran the gamut from funny to exhausted to bitter.
A criminal defense attorney could be a rich character study for your story.
Click on one of the below links to read the excerpt: