Thursday, February 24, 2011

What lawyers, and clients, can learn from Socrates

This is Part 1 of a series that may, or may not, have additional parts.

Plato telling Socrates what to write... hmm.
When on trial for undermining the gods and corrupting the youth, Socrates defended himself, pro se.  From my brief observations in the courtroom, it is never a good idea to defend yourself.  And when you have the humility and good sense to accept a court appointed lawyer, listen to the advice of your lawyer, especially when she says, "I strongly advise you NOT to take the stand to testify against yourself."

Socrates was not offered state appointed representation, but Euthyphro, a "good" lawyer-friend of his, offered to help Socrates after he finished prosecuting his own father for murder.

So, Socrates went at it alone.  His first defense was not that unusual for a criminal trial: "They [the police and judges] are out to get me."  That was the defense offered by one guy I observed in court who ignored the advice of his lawyer and testified that the police have always been jealous of how good he was with the ladies.  The subsequent cross-examination on statutory rape was brutal.

1 comment:

  1. I forgot to mention that the guy was on trial for a mere "failure to register as sex offender." The jury sentenced him to twenty thousand years (this is Texas after all).