Hey – it’s Jillian but I changed my WordPress name to Author. Mysterious, huh? Hahaha
When I applied to law school, one of my goals in life was to first be a prosecutor and then eventually become a judge in the criminal law area. Life didn’t work out that way, first, because once I actually was in law school, I found that I didn’t want to prosecute but would rather be a criminal defense lawyer. I know that sounds odd but when I read some of these cases and found out about quite a lot of injustices, I decided that I could do more good helping individuals than being part of the prosecution- although the victim advocacy part of that appealed to me as well. Initially, I still wanted that judgeship.
As my career progressed, I was told by a number of people that I should definitely apply for a judgeship and I seriously thought about it a few times but I also found that I really didn’t want to let go of being a player in the courtroom. Judges do an awful lot of sitting and listening. They aren’t litigators and have to watch lawyers maybe getting it wrong and doing more harm than good for their clients. As time went on, I became more and more sure that being a state court criminal law judge wasn’t really for me. My practice eventually moved away from criminal defense and into other areas.
This past weekend, I was asked to be a judge for a regional (Ala, Fla, Ga, & Miss) mock trial competition at the local university. It was a great experience and I loved seeing the students present their case and argue the facts before me as the trier of fact. It was hard not to say anything when they didn’t quite get things right and boy, when they put the defendant on the stand, that really almost made me crazy (right against self-incrimination, anyone?) but I maintained my demeanor and didn’t go into orbit. LOL – I did get a chance at the end to critique them orally as well as making written comments as we went along that they will get to read later. I like to think I helped them some in gaining confidence in what they are doing.
What did I learn from this experience? One was that we have a sharp group of young people ready to head to law school and make a difference in the world but the most important thing I learned about myself is that I made the right decision in not going for that state court criminal judgeship as I really am, at heart, a litigator. I love the courtroom and I love to try cases. Being the trier of fact is way more restrictive than I liked and it was super hard not to open my mouth. LOL
What did you do this weekend?