No Crystal Ball – For Military Justice

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The number of consultations I take ebbs and flows with my current case load. I remember that was one of the hardest balances to achieve when I started in private practice was determining the right ratio between working on current cases and cultivating leads for new potential clients.

Having cleared a number of matters off my desk in July 2021, I undertook a week almost exclusively devoted to new potential client consultations.

As I have refined how I approach consults to set appropriate parameters for time and topic, I now ask “What questions do you have that I can answer?”

The majority of potential clients with whom I speak are in the first stages of the military justice process: investigation. Anxiety for people facing investigation mounts and most often translates to unrealistic questions that no one can possibly answer. At least not anyone with ethics. Or perhaps only with a crystal ball.

The kinds of questions that I cannot answer but are posed with regularity:

  1. How likely is it that I won’t be charged?
  2. What are the chances that if I go all the way to trial that I will be convicted?
  3. Does it sound like my military counsel will be enough to successfully represent me in my trial?
  4. Is my retained civilian lawyer doing what he should be?

In the next series of blog posts that follow. I will address each of these questions that I cannot answer to shed some light on what I think they mean when they are asked. A mentor of mine from Active Duty was often quoted as saying “a question is the highest form of compliment a person can give you. Because it means that they trust your answer.”

When I say that these are questions that I cannot answer without a crystal ball, it is not lost on me that when people pose them to me that they are asking me for a reason: because they value the answer that I will give them. Above all, those answers, even when they are not what was necessarily sought, contain truth.

This blog post is part of a series…


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