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Daron Morris on Being a Criminal Defense Lawer

"Discussing issues with other WACDL members has been one of the most important aspects of developing my critical thinking about cases."

Why did you go to law school?

For terrible reasons.

When you went to law school, did you intend to become a criminal defense lawyer?

Leaning toward it, but wasn't sure.

What convinced you to become a criminal defense lawyer?

Working at Legal Aid in NYC.

Have you ever been a prosecutor?

No.

Who is/are your mentor(s)?  What have you learned from them?

Neil Fox – thinking creatively, making issues matter.

Floris Mikkelsen – seeing every strategic angle to a problem.

Jeff Robinson – for teaching me how to talk in plain, emotional language instead of legalese.

Tell us about a case you worked on that made you proud to be a defense lawyer:

In my first jury trial ever, my client went wildly off script, spoke from his heart, called the AV a “cracker” and “raised the roof” during his testimony. 20 minute acquittal.

There have been so many others, but my client’s power in that very first trial will always stand out in my mind.

Why did you do criminal defense?

Care about social justice and fighting racism; belief that traditional approaches to punishment are often harmful to the community; love the clients and the challenge of building trust; the creativity of it; I’m good at it and it’s humbling.

Briefly describe your practice.

Currently supervising TDA’s investigation practice.

How has WACDL helped you in your practice?

Mentorship; CLEs and the opportunity to present at trainings (which forces you to learn your subject matter thoroughly) and the list-serve. Discussing issues with other WACDL members has been one of the most important aspects of developing my critical thinking about cases.

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