Many people ask me, why would I choose to be a criminal defense attorney? I suppose the answer has to do with one thing: fairness.
My mother always told me that as a child I had a preoccupation with fairness. I would always tell her that this or that was unfair. As much as she tried to teach me that the world was unfair, I never really accepted the concept. I always strove to force more fairness in my everyday life.
My mother worked her entire career in law firms and so I grew up with the annual “take your daughter to work” day. The concept, which started in the 1990s, sought to raise awareness of feminism and promote women’s advancement in the workplace. More importantly, it was meant to teach young girls that they could truly be anything they wanted. I took this seriously. I would go to my mother’s law firm every year and sit in a conference room and look at a scene depicting a courtroom. One year, she asked me whether I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up. I replied, “No mommy, I want to be the judge!”
Ever since then, preoccupied with fairness, I strove to become an attorney. In law school I quickly realized that the best place to achieve fairness, or justice, was in criminal court. I did a few internships and externships while in law school at the public defender’s office and saw how the balance of power is distorted in the government’s favor and how hardworking, everyday people get steamrolled by prosecutors. I saw how the system sought to incarcerate people with mental illness and drug addiction rather than treat them. I witnessed the system separate families and insist on felony convictions with lifelong collateral consequences. Worst of all, I saw a system set up to only take heed of one side and put the weight of the State of Connecticut behind it. So, the choice was easy: to make the system more fair, become a criminal defense attorney.
More than a quarter of a century since first attending “take your daughter to work day,” female criminal defense attorneys are still the exception rather than the rule. I notice that I would go to wait to speak to the prosecutors and if there were ten attorneys in the room, only two were women. I always found this to be interesting, given that women offer their own unique perspective on cases and the needs of the client. While I found that I had to work a bit harder as I was routinely underestimated, I used that to my advantage and, undeterred, six years later I have established myself as one of the few female criminal defense attorneys in the state. I have achieved positive outcomes for clients on more than a hundred criminal cases ranging from motor vehicle tickets to murder and this year, I was named National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 Under 40” for criminal defense.
I know what it is like to be underestimated and unheard. I also understand the biting unfairness of the system. Whether it be aggressive legal tactics, strong and effective negotiation, or whether you just need help or to be heard, we can work together to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.