Being a Criminal Defense Attorney – with Joey Jackson
Luber: Alright, you ve seen him on CNN and True TV s in Session and today he s here with us to help you. Our guest today is Joey Jackson and he s a criminal defense lawyer with the New York firm of Koehler and Isaacs where he serves as Senior Trial Counsel. As you may already know, at JDCOT we help you find and succeed in fulfilling careers using a law degree by exploring career paths both in and out of law. Today we re looking at the path of being a criminal defense lawyer, so let s meet Joey and get started! Joey, welcome to JDCOT. Joey: Pleasure and a privilege to be with you. Luber: Definitely – I m really glad you re here. There s lots to talk about. We re going to want to hear all about what you do on cable news networks like CNN, but really we want to dig in deep to learning about being a criminal defense lawyer – so Joey, let s start with the basics first. Tell us about your practice and an overview of what you do as a criminal defense lawyer. Well I m at a firm and we re a full service firm. We represent people in a variety of ways – whether they re closing on a house, whether they re getting a divorce, whether they have issues in labor and employment and discrimination. And then of course we have an extensive criminal practice – and that s what I do. And as the senior trial counsel here, what I handle are matters of some import, meaning if someone gets involved in something significant, whether it be a case involving vehicular manslaughter, whether it be reckless endangerment, shootings with the police, whether it be enterprise corruption; no matter what the criminal matter is, often times I m called in to address it. And what that entails is going to court, representing the client s interests – I like to say that criminal defense lawyers represent the rights of the falsely accused. Not that that s always the case – but there are some people who are truly innocent. But by and large, you go to court and in going to court you argue with the prosecution. And what you re doing is you re preserving your client s rights and you re arguing and attempting to hold the state to its burden of proof, which they re establishing or attempting to establish that your client is guilty of a variety of things. So whether it s enterprise corruption or where people engage in conspiracies, whether it s a rape case, whether it s murder, attempted murder, vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated, those are matters that we resolve. And that oftentimes is not only going to court, but a lot of motion practice – meaning sometimes you want to write on papers to get yourself a certain hearing, to suppress evidence and that type of thing, but it s a lot of fun stuff. People s lives are in the balance and you want to do what you can do for them which is the best you can at all times. Luber: That sounds great! I m really curious to learn about that, the fact that people s lives are in the balance – so this is a big thing. We ve talked to several trial lawyers here.
Very often it s money that s at stake. You re dealing with people s freedoms being at stake. Explain the pressure that s on your shoulders when you re going to trial and representing somebody. Joey: Well I love this, I love this job. I would do it if I weren t paid to do it, so I don t feel pressured and that s true. I mean, I like to go to court; I live for the thrill of it. There are a lot of clients who are involved in some pretty significant things and I would never put a client s life or liberty at stake without attempting in all means to resolve something with the District Attorney, and what does that mean? It means if I can cut a deal that s favorable to my client and preserves his life and his freedom, I ll do it – but sometimes you re left with no choice – and when you re left with no choice, you have to fight. So you re given the discovery by the state, which are all the police reports, all the records, all the transcripts, all the information, whatever they have – and you have to put together a case. And so you re defending a client s rights and so the stakes are very high. And oftentimes tempers flare in court because you re doing the best you can, but I think it s just something I m passionate about; I enjoy it. And as a result of that, I don t get too stressed out about it. I get stressed when I m not in court, so there you go. Luber: Ha, ha, ha! That s great! Alright if you re on YouTube, please give us the thumbs up if this was helpful. And if you want to see the full interview with Joey, come visit us at JDCOT.com where Joey s gonna tell us all about his TV work and he s gonna tell us lots more about being a criminal defense lawyer: like what s a typical day, who makes the right fit for this path, how to break in and how to succeed. If you re already at the site, you can just scroll down to the full video. Make sure you join the membership so you get access to all the helpful video content on the site. Thanks again for watching everybody. I m Marc Luber and I ll see you soon.