Pit bull or glad-hander? A trial attorney’s dilemma

The best advice I received in law school came from a professor who gave me my lowest grade, a C. The course, New York Criminal Practice, was a one-credit course that did not get the attention it deserved from me. At the time, I had other priorities: 1) taking 15 other credits at school, 2) working 30 hours a week, 3) preparing for a mock trial competition (12 hours a week), and 4) prepping for a moot court competition (four to six hours a week). His advice was simple and general in nature: “If you have any ambitions of becoming of successful criminal defense attorney, do not laugh, joke or give any indications to your clients that you like their prosecutor or arresting officer.”

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