How Is Your Approach To Handling Assault And Battery Cases Unique?
Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.
As an attorney, every morning I get up and have this mental health ritual that I go through because if I am a technical 10 and I show up at the courthouse as an emotional 4, it’s going to hurt my client. I consider it part of my duty to get up very early in the morning and prepare my brain for the day. It’s something I do as a warmup and what I’ve found is that we do a lot of things differently. For example, most lawyers will tell their clients who have a court appearance coming up to “Dress nice for court.” Instead, I’ll tell you, “Do not dress nice for court. Whatever you do, don’t dress nice for court. Please do not dress nice for court. Dress exactly according to dress instructions for court when you go to court.” Why? This may be shocking, but I did some research that blew me away.
If you take a white male defendant with any facial hair and that person is in any suit other than a navy suit with a white shirt and a conservative tie, the rate of conviction in mock trials, when they are testing like this, goes up by 25%. I’m sitting there reading this stuff, and I’m thinking,” Oh My God. What should I have my clients wear?” This was a long time ago, so I put together dress instructions for court. Yet not another law firm in the area produces dress instructions for court. That means if you are working with another law firm, when you walk into the courtroom, unknowingly, you have a greater than 25% increased risk that the prosecutor is going to look at you suspiciously, more so if you wear a navy suit with a white shirt and no facial hair.
The judge is going to look at you in the same way, and God help you if you are in a jury trial because your risk of conviction, which is actually what they are testing in mock trials, goes over 25%. Yes. We do dress instructions for court, and we also have something completely separate from our brain imaging program that we do, and that is coping with stress during criminal prosecution. Every single client or family member that contacts me gets a free eBook as a download within 24 hours of the call. This free eBook is actually a very popular New York Times Best Seller that helps people deal with the stress, and I urge that every person to just read it three times daily for five minutes per passage.
Frequency is more important than duration, just put it into your phone or tablet and spend a few minutes reading, which will make a difference. There are a series of books, audio programs, free YouTube videos and other resources that are recommended. No one else is taking care of their clients’ emotional needs. This is the 21st century; it’s not 1989. It’s amazing that lawyers are still, in the 21st century, saying dress nice for court, or they are using hand-holding sessions or chatty office meetings as a form of mental health therapy they are not even qualified to give instead of giving clients resources they can use whatever time of day they are having stress.
We do a lot of things that are very different from most law firms. For instance, I am the only certified criminal law specialist in the entire county. Next door to our office, we have one of the very first specialists in criminal law in Florida, and that’s Judge Renner, who is not taking any clients currently. He is the judge now on the circuit court bench who handles felonies. If you look over at the other side of the county, there is nobody there, even for several counties over. We are very different than most law firms in the area and even state-wide.
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