So you have decided to become a Melbourne criminal lawyer. You have been inspired by the potential of justice that you can deliver or you have been charmed by the financial opportunities in criminal law or you have been inspired by the various dramatic representations of suave lawyers on TV. In any case, here you are. The Melbourne criminal lawyer. You will certainly have to spend hours and hours in the library going through those heavy, heavy books on legislation. The degree will suck your soul, but your passions will keep you going. However, passion is not enough. Passion can sometimes blind you. Once you will reach the practical field you will find yourself facing multiple challenges that you were not prepared for in-law school. While this article may not help you solve all of these issues it can certainly make you aware of them. Get in touch with a senior Melbourne criminal lawyer, who has been practicing law for a while, get in touch with your teachers, do a webinar, talk to your friends and figure out how you can survive the issues mentioned below:
Defending a criminal: moral dilemma
While you were studying law and being pumped by fancy notions of justice, you might have thought that you will get a lot of innocent people the legal help they deserve. However, did you ever think that you might help a murderer or a rapist escape charges? You might be defending a domestic abuser or a thief? Certainly not. This goes against everything you have been taught since your birth. You cannot defend evil. But, here is the thing: everyone has a right to legal counsel as per the constitution. You are a lawyer and your job is to defend the client you are assigned. You are not the judge, you do not determine whether the person is guilty or not. Your job is to defend them to your utmost best. During your discussions with them, they would certainly tell you exactly what they did. But even if you know they committed the crime, you cannot turn them in due to lawyer-client confidentiality. You will use the same law that you were going to help the innocent with to defend the guilty and that is what your job demands. As a lawyer, you represent the voice and wishes of your client. Your subjective opinion does not matter at all.
Curses and death threats
Whether you win or you lose, there will be people hating you as if you were the actual culprit. You will be blamed as evil. You will be seen as the representation of your client. People will hate you for what you do in court. They will say that to your face, but you would have to brave it for the sake of your client. Sometimes on rare occasions, you will also receive death threats. In such cases, you have the right to request police protection, but it will still be a terrifying experience. You have to prepare yourself to be able to take criticism, to have your logical argument ripped to shreds by the other side, and to be blamed as if you were the culprit on trial.
Studying law itself is a mental chore. You have memorized books worth of material and are expected to not only retain it in your memory but to use it in your arguments frequently if you are to be a good lawyer. However, as mentioned above, being a Melbourne criminal lawyer has its additional psychological burdens and you have to be prepared to handle them. You have to establish firm principles for your self-care. You have to brave the moral dilemma and understand that defending your client is your moral duty and defending a crook does not make you a crook, it makes you a lawyer who is doing their job. The law only works if everyone gets the right to counsel and you are the one who is brave enough to do the dirty work to make sure the law remains fair to all. Acknowledge your bravery and tend to your mental health. Be sure to establish healthy boundaries and keep checking in with a listening ear or a therapist to be your best self.