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FOR WHAT’S RIGHT E ven in law school, I wasn’t sure what kind of law I wanted to practice. Luckily, I had an opportunity to intern at a public defender’s office in San Diego. This was during my time at the California Western School of Law. In many ways, I learned more during this internship than in the classroom. I learned how much I enjoyed legal work, especially working with clients. I saw people who were living through tough situations. They needed help and weren’t sure where to turn. Many of them just needed someone to stand up for them when no one else would. Throughout this experience, I got a taste of the courtroom — I wasn’t sitting behind a desk all day. Everything about this internship would set me on the path to where I am today, over 20 years later.
their homes. They were on their own. Through their experience, I learned how important it was to stand up
for people in difficult and unjust situations.
Every case is different, and there’s no “one- size-fits-all” solution (even though many attorneys would like to think so). That’s a challenge I face as an attorney. With so many advertisements for lawyers out there, from public billboards to online ads, many people see attorneys as an interchangeable commodity. But like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Not every attorney is willing or interested in putting in the time to properly understand a case or their clients. I say this because I’ve seen it, and it’s unfortunate when people don’t get the help they need. Working with a subpar attorney can completely change the outcome of a case, and not for the better. But after more than 20 years working in law and on DUI and criminal cases, my ideals remain the same: Get people the help they need to return to a normal life.
I often find myself standing up against the government. It can be intimidating for sure, but sometimes the government needs to be checked. As an attorney, I often am called on to question authority. Who is really in the right? Who’s in the wrong? It’s not always clear cut. There’s also a culture of incarceration in the U.S. Officials will often try to put away as many people as they can get away with. While law enforcement is very good at protecting people, there are those within law enforcement who refuse to play by the rules and can hurt the public as a result. Part of my job is to be a check on sloppy or negligent government behavior. Not every case is about getting a “not guilty” verdict. Sometimes, it comes down to guiding individuals and families through a challenging time. Some solid advice or professional insight can make a world of difference for some.
“I learned how important it was to stand up for people in difficult and unjust situations.”
There is more to the story, however, and it goes back to my grandparents. My grandparents were survivors of the European concentration camps of the 1930s–1940s. They didn’t have the support of good counsel when they were taken from
If the consequences of a charge are significant, trial may be the best option.
–Mark Rosenfeld, Esq.
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