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A day to celebrate our greatness

On any given day, I may be in court. After enough trips, the process has become somewhat routine. I make sure that I am prepared, I arrive before the scheduled time (which allows me to talk with opposing counsel or go over any last-minute details that may have come up with my client), I wait to be called by the court and then we are off to the races. I am also fortunate because the clients that I usually represent (businesses and their owners with any disputes that arise throughout the life of their companies) usually have some familiarity with the legal process. Essentially, for the most part, they already understand the legal process or understand the process after a brief explanation. Unfortunately, for others, the legal system is a foreign concept shaped by two- or three-minutes clips from the daily news and hour-long legal dramas (a la "The Firm," "Law & Order," "Boston Legal," "Ally McBeal" and "L.A. Law," to name a few). These misconceptions of the practice of law (which make for good television) run contrary to the work performed everyday by each member of the legal system, including judges, lawyers and courthouse staff. During my clerkship in Baltimore City Circuit Court, I was interviewing with the  state's attorney's office, public defender's office and a private, civil defense law firm. During my interview with the PD's office, I was asked, "Will you have any problems with representing a client who allegedly committed one or more terrible crimes?" After a short pause, my response, which I still believe to this day, was: "All attorneys have a commitment to zealously representing their clients. In addition to representing your client, an attorney is a member of the judicial system.  Public defenders protect individuals and their rights. They protect against self-incrimination and unlawful searches.  On the flip side, state's attorneys protect the rights of society. They help make sure that there is law and order. Without both, the system does not work and justice fails."

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