Lawyer Monthly - April 2022

The Making of an Exceptional Defence Attorney APR 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM interested in criminal defence get a job or internship at a law firm or District Attorney’s office during their law school years. This will allow you to see realworld application of criminal law and can also generate connections for post law school career options. How does the field of trial advocacy relate to this? Trial advocacy is an essential skill. You can begin developing the skill in law school, if given opportunities. However, real world experience is a necessity and I highly recommend working in a law office where criminal defence lawyers How effective is law school at instilling these skills in students? Law school provides a foundation for knowledge of the areas of law that are critical in criminal defence. The most important topics would be evidence, constitutional law and criminal procedure. However, law school does not fully prepare you for courtroom advocacy, though more schools are offering experience through criminal defence clinics and similar programs. There is an increasing level of interest in criminal defence in law schools, which is a positive development. Do you have any suggestions for law students looking to gain relevant experience or knowledge outside of these programs? I strongly suggest that anyone Can you tell us about the skills that you believe are necessary to perform effectively as a defence attorney? Being a criminal defence attorney requires a combination of skills. Those skills include empathy, patience, attention to detail, oral and written advocacy and human relations. Every day is a little different and you deal with novel situations on a regular basis. You must have trial skills as well, though the vast majority of your cases do not go to jury trial. Performance at a jury trial is a very significant distinction that can add to your credibility among your peers and other legal professionals. I am often called upon to consult with attorneys regarding potential criminal law issues which can arise in the course of representation in other fields such as healthcare law, family law and business litigation. MY LEGAL LIFE - SAM BASSETT Criminal defence remains an area of interest for many law students, though experience is essential to a proper understanding of the field. What qualities should an aspiring defence attorney nurture? This month we hear from Sam Bassett, who shares his insights gained from an extensive career in criminal defence. There is an increasing level of interest in criminal defence in law schools, which is a positive development. 25

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