[Ed.- This is part two of an ongoing series. For part one, click here.]
It was 10.11 am, and I was in the ante-room with my client, Barnaby Jones.
Mr Jones had been my client for all of 8 minutes now, and I had trial in a month, after his previous lawyer had sat on the case for four years. I’d just given him my spiel (e.g., I’m Leo, I’ve never been a prosecutor, I’ve always fought to the defense, I don’t treat my court-appointed clients any differently than my private pay clients, etc…).
Mr Jones was receptive to all this, and smiled as I shook his hand. I closed my elevator speech by taking out my business card.
“Mr Jones, take this. You and I have to talk. Soon. My office number is on the card, but here, let me write my cell on there…”
I don’t normally give my cell phone out to clients—for good reason. I’m not much a fan of getting calls at 10.30pm on a Saturday asking “So, what’s going on with my case?” (Answer: “Call me on Monday during business hours and I will let you know”.)
But with so little time to prepare, I had to get moving as soon as possible. I mean, we were scheduled for a jury in a month, I had literally no discovery, and I had three other courtrooms to be in that morning alone. The clock was ticking, and we needed to get started.
“Mr Jones, call my office when you get back home, and let’s schedule a time for you to come in this week to discuss your case. We don’t have a lot of time”.
He looked at me and nodded: “Yes, sir. But Mr Leo, it wasn’t me!” A familiar refrain for defense counsel.
“We’ll talk soon. Call me today”, I said as I walked out the door and down the hall to my next courtroom.