Kopf’s Top Ten Observations About Criminal Defense Lawyers by Richard G. Kopf, Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska):
10. Criminal defense lawyers are at great risk of becoming drunken bastards—the stress is beyond description.
9. Being a good criminal defense lawyer requires sincerity whereas being a great criminal defense lawyer requires the ability to fake it.
8. When it comes to convincing a client to accept a guilty plea because it is in the manifest best interests of the client, a criminal defense lawyer must become a client whisperer.
7. When it comes to convincing a client to reject a plea offer and take the case to a jury, a criminal defense lawyer (regardless of gender) must possess balls of steel.
6. Real criminal defense lawyers don’t hate prosecutors, but they don’t trust them either.
5. Criminal defense lawyers know that the federal trial judge is never their friend, but the judge is seldom their enemy.
4. A tiny fraction of people who have law degrees have the ability to become even mediocre criminal defense lawyers.
3. If you became a criminal defense lawyer because you like Rolex watches, then you are an asshole.
2. You must have a big ego to become a decent criminal defense lawyer but you must not be an egotist—it is never, ever about you.
1. Real criminal defense lawyers represent clients and not causes.