Criminal Defense Background and Training

Below Virginia criminal lawyer Matthew Crowley discusses his background, experience, and training, and how he feels it has helped prepare him for a career in criminal defense.

Contact Virginia criminal attorney Matthew Crowley today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

What Experiences or Training Has Prepared You For a Career in Criminal Defense?

There are a lot of experiences I could point to. I think that some of the best training for any job is on the job. When I first got out of law school, my very, very first job, I practiced with a small immigration firm where I was the only lawyer who did criminal defense. I was the only Virginia lawyer in that firm.

Of course you learn the law in law school, but you don’t learn how to practice, so for me it was really a baptism by fire. I learned by doing, by researching, by working hard, and also by reaching out to the right people when that was necessary.

I have found that even with over a decade of experience at this point, that fundamental approach does not change for me. Every case is different and you serve people best by really digging in and trying to learn. Learning about all of the facts, not just the facts of the case, but learning about the client. Really going down to a high level of detail, a granular level of detail, in every case and focusing really tightly on how the law can work in someone’s favor.

But most importantly, I think, is finding out what the goals of the individual client are. Because every case is a new problem that requires a unique solution. You have to bring everything to bear, use everything at your disposal, and learn and think as though you were facing these problems yourself. Having great peers, the collective experience you can also draw on, makes a big difference in this area as well. And that’s one of the reasons that I eventually decided to specialize in criminal defense work and then work with other people who’ve done the same thing.

Why Do You Think Your Past Experiences Has Helped You Become a Better Criminal Defense Attorney?

I think these experiences have taught me that success in the law is a combination of relying on your natural abilities and learning everything that you can on your own, really digging deep, stepping outside of yourself, learning things that may be you didn’t know before.

Also relying on the experiences that you’ve had, whether they’re related to law or whether they’re just there just related to experience with other human beings. Common sense.  And relying on getting down into the weeds, really focusing on every case at granular level. The other thing that I think those experiences helped me to know is that some of the best work can be done in a collaborative environment.

So, knowing when to reach out to other resources, knowing when to bring an investigator into a case, knowing when to talk to another attorney to get their perspective.  I think that it’s helped me also to have the confidence to know that I can handle any situation for a client. Being in a situation where you’re a young attorney and you don’t know what you don’t know, you feel terrified, but you pretty quickly, though hard work and persistence, develop the confidence that there isn’t any problem that you can’t tackle.

Add years and years and years of experience on top of that and it creates a scenario where a lawyer feels like there’s really no challenge that can’t handle and they have a good grip on, what resources to bring to bear in a case. And that that’s going to be different in every case.