Medlin Law Firm September 2018

The Medl in News

SEPTEMBER 2018

FIRSTS

You see, a common misconception is that practicing law is all about finding tricks and loopholes. This is especially pervasive in the field of criminal law, where there’s an added stigma that lawyers are trying to “get guilty people off.” This idea that good criminal defense attorneys are somehow unethical is a dangerous notion in our society. Those who were fortunate enough to get a good civics class in high school will remember that one of the most important pillars of our democracy is the concept that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Our government cannot and should not overstep its bounds by wrongfully punishing those it cannot prove to be guilty. It was made clear to me in law school that it is the duty of criminal defense attorneys to hold the government to that burden of proof, not only to protect the rights of their clients, but as an ongoing preservation of the rights of the citizens of the United States. This has been even more clear in subsequent decades, as DNA exonerations have become more common. Time and time again, we’ve found that innocent men and women have gone to prison; an unfortunate amount have even served time on death row. While it’s great that groups like the Innocence Project work to give these folks their freedom back, no amount of compensation will ever amount to the years or even decades these people had to spend away from their families. My job is to make sure that sort of tragedy doesn’t happen.

Reflections on Back to School

By the time you read this, my daughter will have just started kindergarten. At the time of writing, there’s some anxiety surrounding this next big step. She’ll be in a new school with new teachers and will have to make new friends. I’ve got full confidence in her, though. I still remember the time I dropped her off for her first day of pre-K. There was the typical clinging and crying parents expect, but she quickly grew out of it. These days, she can’t wait to run in and play. She’s already great at making friends. I hope that enthusiasm sticks with her the rest of her life. My daughter’s at that age when she talks about what she wants to be when she grows up, and the answers are constantly shifting. One moment it’s a firefighter, then a police officer, then an underwater firefighter. My wife always jokes that our daughter is a lawyer in training. She is already very adept at negotiation. She’ll make points like, “I went swimming today, so I shouldn’t have to take a bath tonight.” She may have law school in her future after all. It’s hard to believe, but my first day of law school was over 39 years ago. I can definitely remember feeling my own sense of trepidation and anxiety starting down the path of becoming an attorney. I knew there were going to be a lot of new expectations on me and my ability to study. Still, the academic in me felt some semblance of comfort getting to staywithin the familiar structures of collegiate life a while longer. Law school was harder than I expected. The volume of reading is considerably larger than anything I experienced as an undergrad, and I had to work hard to ensure that study time wasn’t my only time. More than anything else, those years of study instilled in me a clearer sense of what being a lawyer is all about.

Looking back over the years, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. All I would say to my younger self getting ready to start law school almost four decades ago is to study up. His clients and

his family are going to need him. – Gary L. Medlin, Esq.

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