Monday, March 24, 2008

Canadian Lawyer Magazine - The pros and cons of...(being a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto)

Unknown Lawyer Canadian Lawyer Magazine has just released an interesting article about the ups and downs of being a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto.  There are also a number of other lawyers who participated in providing their opinions on different cities, different areas of practice, and different life plans with law.  A worthwhile read for law students considering what do when they graduate.  The article can be found in the link below.  My comments were as follows, but I highly recommend you ink to the entire article to read others views on these sorts of issues:

Sean Robichaud, Criminal defence, Pinkofskys, Toronto



• Being in court almost every single day, cross-examining witnesses. “The whole excitement of courtroom drama is always there, and you’re living that every day,” he says.  “If you like the roller-coaster of emotions that befits a litigator, criminal law is what you should practise.”

• Satisfaction of protecting people’s right to liberty. “There isn’t the cost-benefit analysis that goes into litigation in the civil context. There’s great satisfaction, especially in cases you truly believe in. It’s much more effective advocacy. You’ll have your ultra-highs where you think someone is totally innocent and they’re acquitted.”
• The unpredictability of court and the flexibility that brings. “If your day does finish early, which it very often does, you can go and enjoy time with your family.
• The variety criminal work brings. “Every day is different. I like going to court and not having any idea about what could happen. The courtroom is more like a dance than it is a science.”
• Practising in a big city allows you to litigate very aggressively. “Not having to worry about burning bridges for the next day. You tend to have a higher level of advocacy because people aren’t concerned about those issues, having to deal with the same Crown attorney, the same judge, the next day.”
• There will always be work for criminal lawyers. “If you want to practise exclusively in criminal law, there’s enough work to just do that. In a smaller community you would likely not survive. You’d have to do some family and real estate and become more of a general practitioner.”
•The benefit of proximity when doing appeals. “If you decide that something has merit, it’s very easy to work that out because the appellate courts and the higher courts are all in Toronto.
• The culture of the city


• Losing cases. “If you feel someone is innocent, and they’re convicted, it totally destroys you,” he states.

• Especially for newly minted lawyers, getting emotionally involved.
• Working with sensitive material, like child pornography or sexual assault. “Like any human being, it’s often hard to completely detach yourself from the substance of what you’re arguing.”
• Work/life balance at times. “My phone is always on. People get arrested at all times of the day, more so probably at night. As a criminal lawyer, you have to always be able to assist your client.”
• Difficulty in planning your life.  A day in court “may take a lot longer than you expected. Criminal law is not for a person who doesn’t like chaos.”

Check out more here: Canadian Lawyer Magazine - The pros and cons of...

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