When I was growing up in Newark, I heard exciting stories about the courtroom. I knew then that was what I wanted to do. Now, when I walk into a courtroom I feel it is a great privilege to represent my client. Our court system is the greatest system of justice in the world.
I represent ordinary people, and I have most of my career. Many cases are referred to us, but the fact is 95% of the cases that we review we will not take. We analyze the facts of the case and assess whether there is a case at all. If we feel there is a case, my team and I will fully prepare it, bring in as many experts as needed and try the case. Our team is usually fighting for the underdog and the underprivileged.
In the courtroom, my style is to be sincere and direct. Humility is not just important; it's essential. Juries get turned off by loud suits and jewelry.
The jury pool is certainly different today. Many things have happened in recent years to impact attitudes, for example, 9/11, and the weak economy. As a result, people may be less sympathetic because of what they hear in the news versus the courtroom.
When I select a jury, I look potential jurors in the eye. I look at every detail, even their shoes. Will they be empathetic? Will they relate to my client's experience? It's the most important part of the process.
For me, success in the courtroom is a function of two things. First, always keep your adrenaline in high gear. Second, presentation skills have to be finely tuned. I tell every client, before we enter court or go to the posh offices of a corporate defense attorney; that they should never feel intimidated, as my team and I are there fighting for them.