Lawyer Monthly - May 2023

I always include my client and his family and friends in trial preparation. Some of my best ideas have come from my clients. MY LEGAL LIFE 25 of time speaking to my client and their friends and relatives about who my client is. I never rely solely on myself and my experience to strategise about a case. I always include my client and his family and friends in trial preparation. Some of my best ideas have come from my clients. This is my client’s life on the line. I take this very seriously and I always listen to what my client has to say. At the end of the day, I will go home to my life and they may not. I am here to serve them – not to be the smartest person in the room. I think we forget that when we get out of law school, so I try to constantly remind myself why I am doing this. I am doing this to be of service. I am not doing this to inflate my ego. Sometimes that distinction is difficult. I see the flaw in myself and certainly in other lawyers. Can you share anything about your plans for the future of your practice? I have been a lawyer for 25 years. I love being a criminal defence attorney. In January, I hired my first associate lawyer, Lindsay Arevalo. She is an experienced criminal defence lawyer and she is also taking youth court and some family law matters. My plan is to continue to grow my law firm. I want to be the best criminal defence firm in the state. I think we are moving in that direction. I have an excellent crew here. Cheryl Warren is my office manager and paralegal and Amanda Maurer is another paralegal here. Our receptionist is Dakota Pruitt. We have an excellent internship program through the University of Southern Mississippi, so we always have one or two interns around. My husband, Mark, and I love to travel. My goal would be to have a law firm that runs itself and to assist with some of the more complex criminal jury trials. I would love to continue to speak to clients, represent clients and handle the marketing, etc. but to also have the freedom to travel for a large part of the year. Please tell us about your journey into law. What led you to found your own firm? I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was five years old. My mother always worked at the courthouse (as a clerk, then court administrator, then court reporter). She would always take me to work with her. I spent so much time around the courthouse and around lawyers. I grew up in this environment. Both of my grandfathers worked for the local government. They would take me to the courthouse, too. My dad was a narcotics agent. My uncle was a deputy sheriff. My other uncle was the local elected District Attorney and now his son has the same position. My step-father was also in law enforcement. Today, my step-brother works at the local sheriff’s office and I have too many other relatives to name who are involved in some way in our legal system. When I graduated law school, I started working as an Assistant Public Defender at the Public Defender’s Office in Pensacola, Florida. I worked there for many years and then I went into private practice. Next, I worked at the Federal Public Defender’s Office. I have always, for the most part, been a criminal defence lawyer. I opened my office in Mississippi in 2013. I practice all over the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. I am also on the CJA panel for the Southern District Court of MS. I am also admitted to practice in Tennessee and Florida. What is it that motivates you to achieve success for your clients? I truly get to know my clients. My clients become almost like family. I have to know them well enough to fight for their cause. Courtrooms are busy, crowded places. I want my client’s story to be heard. I do not want my client to be just another name on the docket. In order to tell the story, I must truly know the person I am representing. I spend a lot Photo Credit: Amanda Kyrie

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