Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

I finally "made it"

I finally feel like I have made it in this profession. For t orange912/09/18
congratulations. For a differnt perspective, a lot of my dingbat12/09/18
It happens. This kind of experience is very good to have. jeffm12/09/18
Congratulations on your win! Good story, too! jeffm12/09/18
Credited. I am in the same boat, was stuck in dead end do alphadog1512/09/18
Not to be a bucket of cold water, but very few care or will midlaw12/09/18
My point had nothing to do with what others thought. It was orange912/10/18
Congratulations, but don’t let your success or failure dic qdllc12/10/18
Congratulations! Great to hear a success story here. justdoingok12/10/18
Well done! Great story! Enjoy your success and new perspec nigeltufnel12/10/18
Congratulations on the acquittal. That is a long trial and I a8464812/10/18
Good work, winning federal trials is no easy task. They are thirdtierlaw12/10/18
orange9 (Dec 9, 2018 - 2:57 pm)

I finally feel like I have made it in this profession. For the first 3 years of my career, I was vastly underpaid by different firms, but took the experience in hopes of moving up in my profession. A few years ago, I moved to a firm that put me in the "big leagues" of criminal defense, but I still hadn't had any experience for myself where I felt I had "made it."

I started a trial in federal court early in November, and this past week, the jury returned a not guilty. I think I have now "made it." This has provided the best possible vindication for all the the hours I dedicated to this case since the summer.

The difference between winning and losing this past trial was putting in the man hours. I found some information in the more than 1100 pages of Jencks material provided to me 3 days before the trial (on a Sunday morning, no less), and that was the difference between winning and losing the case. And going through the Jencks was in addition to the more than 40 hours of phone calls I listened to and the hours of video and the other thousands of pages of discovery I was provided, and reading and learning all of the forensic sciences so I knew as much about the forensic sciences as their experts so I can effectively cross examine them.

I started in the doldrums of criminal law in my state, and really had to prove myself. One day, another lawyer noticed me in court and eventually offered me my next job. I stayed with him until it was time to make my next move, and put myself in the "big leagues" with the opportunity to finally make it. Many young lawyers these days think that the degree entitles them to a cushy job where you show up and put in your hours and you get a big check. For any young or aspiring lawyers reading, it is not just showing up and putting in the hours, you need to put in the effort for all of those hours and get ready to take a beating along the way.

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dingbat (Dec 9, 2018 - 4:51 pm)

congratulations.

For a differnt perspective, a lot of my classmates started out in biglaw, showing up, putting in the hours, and getting the big check. So many of them couldn't hack it at that level, and dropped out pretty shortly afterwards.

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jeffm (Dec 9, 2018 - 4:54 pm)

It happens. This kind of experience is very good to have. Even if you need to go your own way down the road, you have some marketable skills.

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jeffm (Dec 9, 2018 - 3:14 pm)

Congratulations on your win! Good story, too!

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alphadog15 (Dec 9, 2018 - 5:07 pm)

Credited.

I am in the same boat, was stuck in dead end doc review for years thinking my career prospects were doomed. I was lucky in that I caught a break advising in tax and estate planning to high net worth individuals due to my unique language skills. But that was just the beginning. It took years of work, experience and learning to finally achieve a modicum of stability. I still just feel like I’m at the beginning but now I start getting calls asking (and being paid) for my opinion and am starting to get a network and some name recognition.

It’s been a tough slog, a lot of ups and downs but the more exposure I get the more confident I feel.

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midlaw (Dec 9, 2018 - 11:24 pm)

Not to be a bucket of cold water, but very few care or will be impressed. This matters and it matters a lot because you now know that you can do it. You still need to hustle, but your win should help your marketing efforts. Good luck! And congratulations on the win - I mean that.

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orange9 (Dec 10, 2018 - 4:46 pm)

My point had nothing to do with what others thought. It was about finally feeling the validation after all of the years of hard work and having nothing in return. Half of the young people these days feel like they were born on 2nd base, a degree gets them to 3rd, and are waiting to score on a fly ball to the outfield. I started my career handling mostly traffic cases for a firm that churned through young law grads, hustled until someone noticed me, and have now gotten to a point in the criminal defense world that very few ever get a chance at, especially when they are barely 30 years old. I don't take it for granted for a minute the level that I am working at because my efforts have real life consequences. I can't afford to fall asleep at the wheel for even a moment.

It today's world, very few cases go to trial, especially federal cases. If you do get retained on a federal case, odds are the case is already on a silver spoon for a jury to convict. Like I said in my earlier post, the difference in this case was something in the Jencks material which I noticed and then exploited. I can't even count the amount of hours I put into this case, but I can say it was certainly worth it.

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qdllc (Dec 10, 2018 - 8:12 am)

Congratulations, but don’t let your success or failure dictate your worth.

A common trap for all people is that they determine their self worth from their vocation. So, success or failure at work is perceived as success or failure as a person. It’s just a job...not who you are as a person.

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justdoingok (Dec 10, 2018 - 9:03 am)

Congratulations! Great to hear a success story here.

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nigeltufnel (Dec 10, 2018 - 9:07 am)

Well done! Great story! Enjoy your success and new perspective.

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a84648 (Dec 10, 2018 - 11:42 am)

Congratulations on the acquittal. That is a long trial and I am sure that you took away a lot of good experience.

As one who is also in the criminal world, I learned long ago that we can control the process but can't control the outcome. Juries do what juries do and while preparation is vital, it does not guarantee a verdict.

Hopefully your firm appreciates what you do and this will help you get "better" cases that reflect your skill set.

Good luck to you!

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thirdtierlaw (Dec 10, 2018 - 7:47 pm)

Good work, winning federal trials is no easy task. They are so risk adverse that their cases are normally overkilled by the time they indict.

Their nonsense with the jenks materials drive me nuts. "Hey we changed our policy to move beyond the act, we will now get you the materials within a 'reasonable amount of time' before trial," they say with a smile as they drop off 20k pages of documents 3 days before trial when they know full well they're only using 5 pages. Then the government wonders why CJA panels cost so much and there are so few clients represented by private attorneys.

It's why I, and my family, much prefer my state court cases. My state requires all of those documents to be turned over early in the case. But I digress.

Good work, enjoy the win, and keep hustling.

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