Your typical Thursday afternoon spent with the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court

Even Charlie knew the value of the Golden Ticket. I’m more like Willy Wonka clumsily committing faux pas after faux pas. I’m smart enough to watch my colleagues straighten up and engage in appropriate deferential talk when we’re at receptions and banquets. However, since the criminal courts have a completely different set of movers and […]

SCRAM devices, Lindsay Lohan, and Google Analytics

So, we re-launched our website about six weeks ago on a new domain. We were at, and now we’re at The bulk of the content from the old site is up here, though there are some pages that seemed particularly obscure, and perhaps a little too overwhelming to people looking for information on […]

The “mechanisms instated you can go through” when you’re a seventeen year old girl who’s just been punched in the face by a police officer.

Dal came by my desk this morning, as he does from time to time, to tell me about a news story he’d caught before work this morning. The video’s made the rounds, and become a national news story. I watch so many videos like this one, though, that I was actually surprised it became a […]

Criminal law and social justice.

The best criminal law blogs – ones like Simple Justice, Gamso For The Defense, Crime & Federalism, even Popehat (which is only occasionally about criminal law) – have something in common: they’re not so much about criminal law as they’re about social justice. (Mark Bennett’s excellent Defending People, meanwhile, is often about the actual practice […]

“Can’t you just tell me what to do?”

Every so often I’ll get a call like the one today: a potential client wants to know how I would handle a case while coyly implying that he’s trying to see “if I’m a good enough lawyer.”

It’d be far more efficient if people just asked, “Could I please have 5 minutes of free legal advice,” but that would spoil the fun, no?

The conventional wisdom is that you don’t ever give legal advice to a person who isn’t your client. It’s good advice: you have no idea if you’re giving the person the correct advice without understanding the full scope of the problem. The last thing you want is to get sued for malpractice when a person claims they took your bad advice –and you didn’t even get paid for giving it in the first place.

Five Stages of Change

Many moons ago, I was incredibly frustrated with a client who kept getting in trouble for the same behaviors.

He never was rearrested, but his drug use got him into problems with school, his family, and his inability to follow through on anything we had agreed to. His family was even more frustrated because he did nothing: He didn’t go to school; he didn’t complete any assignments; he didn’t follow through with his responsibilities at home; he didn’t want to go to treatment, and his drug use was occasional enough that he wasn’t really an addict. The main thing was that he just didn’t really do anything.