CBA Sept.-Oct. 2020

Y O U N G L A W Y E R S J O U R N A L A NewWay to Define Winning By Jeffrey Moskowitz, YLS Chair

CBA YOUNG LAWYERS SECTION Chair Jeffrey Moskowitz J. Moskowitz Law LLC First Vice-Chair Tracy Brammeier Clifford Law Offices, P.C. Second Vice-Chair Chastidy Burns Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender Member Service Manager Marty Gould Romanucci & Blandin LLC Public Service Manager Kenneth Matuszewski Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP Project Officer John Risvold The Collins Law Firm PC

guilty on Darrow’s advice. The “trial” was really a 32-day sentencing hearing. Fun fact: Mr. Darrow’s legal fees were deter- mined by a committee of officers from the CBA! Because his clients were sentenced to life in prison, did Darrow lose that case? Or was it a win because they avoided the death penalty? When I see advertisements claiming that an attorney has “never lost a case,” I think one of three things: (1) BS; (2) you’ve tried one case (or only very few); and/or (3) the system is broken. Recent events seem to suggest that the legal system is indeed broken, and it’s time to reimagine how we practice law. Our job is to strive for equity, not to decimate our opponent. Civility and comradery have been thrown by the way- side because too many attorneys see the practice of law as war. But should it be? Perhaps we should be working together to make injured plaintiffs whole, rehabilitate criminal defendants, and fix the damage crime does to our communities. We all lose when we decide there must be winners and losers. I am not suggesting that people should not zealously advocate on behalf of their clients, but rather that in doing so we should strive for justice, not individual glory. The scales of justice are supposed to be balanced, but we perpetuate the idea that a good lawyer can tip the scale. It’s time to redefine winning. To argue that only one party can win is to mis- interpret the entire purpose of the legal system. Finding equity is actually harder because the process is more collaborative than adversarial, but is far more satisfying. People who feel wronged by the system become disenfranchised and turn their back on the courts. This is an unfortunate byproduct of our current justice system. The idea that attorneys are adversaries because we have an adversarial system is

I could not catch my breath. I ducked into the courthouse stairwell and hoped my heart would stop racing. Sweat was running down my forehead, and I had no idea what was happening. Could a 29-year-old have a heart attack? Fortunately, it was only a panic attack, my first ever. Unfortunately, it would not be the last. At the time, I was four years into practicing law, was running my own firm, and had a heavy felony caseload. I was embarrassed and didn’t want to admit what had happened. I was concerned that something was wrong with me. After con- fiding in friends, I learned that I was not alone. The gravity of what we deal with on a regular basis simply cannot be overstated. Every day attorneys are expected to “win” for their clients, which can cause enormous stress and anxiety What is winning? Is it the undeniable and complete crushing defeat of opposing counsel? If the gold standard for attorneys is one that unceremoniously devastates all who come against them, are the attorneys on the losing side terrible attorneys? Clarence Darrow is frequently men- tioned as one of the greatest attorneys of all time. One of his most famous cases was his defense of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Most people think there was a trial in this case, but in fact both men had plead

Project Officer Daniel Berkowitz Office of the Illinois Attorney General Secretary/Treasurer Gavin Phelps Attorney at Law

Co-Editor in Chief YLS Journal Kruti Patel Wintersteen Law Group Co-Editor in Chief YLS Journal Alexander Passo Latimer LeVay Fyock LLC

Assistant Editor Kaitlin King Hart David Carson LLP

YLS Director Jennifer Byrne

28 September/October 2020

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