Whether a client contacts us or a court calls us for a court-appointed matter, our approach remains the same, as shown in the figure below.
First, we arrange the bond and get the client released if possible. Having our client released from custody allows us more access to the client, thus making it easier to build his/her case. At the same time, the firm will determine whether it should engage in this matter. If so, an engagement letter will be sent to the client for the scope of the representation and the fee.
Second, we conduct a client interview. During the client interview, we will get the client’s detailed story. In this stage, the goal is to gather as much information as possible to answer at least six questions: who, where, when, what, why and how. We will also gather 1) witness names; 2) statements and behavior of the police; 3) sequence of events; and 4) other relevant information.
Third, we begin the fact gathering stage. After we gathered evidence from the client, we contact the prosecution and request all of its evidence such as police reports, witness statements, videos and pictures, etc. Next, we conduct our own discovery based on our client’s statements and the prosecution’s evidence. If appropriate, we will photograph the alleged scene, interview key eyewitnesses, identify other witnesses, retain experts, and gather and preserve other evidence.
Fourth, we analyze all evidences, formulate a story/theory, bridge the gaps, and devise strategies for pretrial and trial. Throughout the case, we will keep clients informed of all evidences, development, and options. All options are presented to the client with their respective outcomes, so the client can make informed decision. Plea offers will be communicated and explained to client quickly and clearly.
If the case is heading to the trial, the team who handles the case will enter a “trial mode” a month before the scheduled trial date. All motions, stipulations, lists, and instructions will be prepared ahead of the deadlines. Witnesses will be meticulously prepared, so are the experts, if any. We normally will run a moot court for the entire trial. The goal of all this hard work is to ensure an ultimate success – a win at trial.