Monday, January 24, 2005

Profile of Scrushy Trial Lawyer Jim Parkman

An article in the Birmingham News (Jan. 23) gives a profile of Jim Parkman, who will be among the trial counsel representing Richard Scrushy in his securities fraud trial that has opening arguments scheduled to begin today (Jan. 24).  Parker has taken the local "country lawyer" approach, as described in the article:

For Parkman, this is his promotion to the big-time, after more than 20 years of workaday litigating in his hometown of Dothan, a biography he is fond of repeating in court. "I'm just a country lawyer from Dothan, and I don't have all sorts of fancy notebooks," he told panelists at jury selection two weeks ago, waving a lonely piece of yellow paper, seconds after government attorney Richard Smith had yielded the floor, carting off bulky binders that he consulted every few minutes while questioning jurors. Later in the week, Smith attempted to poach on Parkman's territory, telling a new group of potential jurors, "I'm just a country lawyer from Talladega, Alabama." Parkman didn't let it stand, even though Smith is from Talladega. Next time he had the floor, Parkman told the jury that Smith and other government lawyers regularly work on major cases in Washington, Chicago and other business and legal capitals. "I'm only from Dothan," he told the potential jurors. "You aren't going to hold that against me, are you?"

Parkman is an unknown quantity, and certainly is not a high-profile white collar defense lawyer, unlike his predecessor, Abbe Lowell.  It is an interesting strategy, consistent with Scrushy's approach that emphasizes his local roots, humble beginnings, and lack of sophistication, especially with regard to all that accounting "stuff." (ph)

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