Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The website Quora identifies the nation's most "bad-ass" trial lawyer

Quora, a social media website that allows users to pose and answer questions, has named criminal defense lawyer and Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington & Lee Judith Clarke as one of the nation's most bad-ass lawyers.  Her forte, according to Quora users, is that she eschews display of ego and flash in favor of hard work and attention to detail. A pretty unbeatable combination if you ask me. From the Quora page posing the question: "Who is the most bad-ass lawyer?" (subscription required).

Judith Clarke - She's the greatest lawyer you've never heard of . . . but I'm willing to bet you've heard of her clients.  She is -- in my opinion -- proof that there are amazingly brilliant and ethical lawyers practicing law without regard for personal gain or agrandizement.  She doesn't fight to "get her clients off", she accepts their guilt by and large, she merely dedicates herself to preventing her clients from seeing the electric chair.  She works mostly pro bono.  She is brilliant to the point where she could make millions, but lives on a tiny salary, any extra money she earns she dedicates to various charities and to the indigent.   She's so completely hated in some states for her skill and technique, that some states have even passed laws preventing "out of state lawers" from defending criminals in their state . . . all because of her. Her client list is the "who's who" in notorious criminals in the past several decades:
  • Susan Smith
  • Ted Kaczynski
  • Zacarias Moussaoui
  • Andrea Yates
  • Eric Rudolph (Atlanta Olympic Bomber)
  • Jared Lee Laughner
Judy Clarke: Jared Loughner's 'Amazing' Attorney
Clarke, one of the foremost experts at representing capital defendants, has little of the flamboyance of Stephen Jones, who represented Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. She has little of the oratory skill of Michael Tigar, who saved Terry Nichols' life in the second Oklahoma City bombing trial. She does not fill a courtroom like Michael Jackson's attorney, Thomas Mesereau, or Texas' famed Dick Deguerin. But she does everything well, avoids the limelight, eschews displays of ego, and works as hard as a defense lawyer can. "She is one of my personal heroes," a veteran federal public defender told me Tuesday. "She is one of those extraordinary attorneys who have it all. She has a sharp mind for legal analysis, is an exceptional trial lawyer and is as dedicated and driven as anyone you will ever meet."

Hat tip to The Business Insider.



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