As we strive to ensure that we are making the most impact that we can as a Firm, we have changed course on our feelings and approach to being involved in trials at any stage less than trying the case ourselves. Over the last decade that Ms. Stewart has been in private practice, she has made a few exceptions to her previous general rule that she would only take cases where she could be involved in the entire process and try to case herself.
In the first case, she felt so strongly about helping a client who had a statement coerced out of him, she felt really guilty when his family could not fund her complete participation. She decided to accept the fee they could pay and then work in helping the case short of litigation. Ms. Stewart drafted the motion to suppress that would be monumental in obtaining a just result. Her name on the case helped to leverage a plea deal that was incredibly favorable for this client. With time remaining on the fees paid, Ms. Stewart even drafted the sentencing argument the military counsel delivered. The end result was an exceptionally low sentence for the misconduct the client had committed and avoided the stress and uncertainty of taking it to trial with inexperienced military counsel.
In the second case, Ms. Stewart again felt very drawn the unfairness of the accusations against the client. She wanted to be a part of it, but this client was barely making ends meet in battling a parallel family law case. His spouse had made false allegations against him to leverage the divorce proceedings. Again, Ms. Stewart made “an exception” and accepted a fee to participate in the case in a role less than lead counsel and not even “before the bar” (as a litigator). She drafted a pivotal M.R.E. 412 motion and guided the military counsel in their interview of the member’s children, encouraged the children to be placed on the defense witness list when their interview turned up exculpatory testimony, and ultimately the behind-the-scenes efforts culminated in the complete dismissal of charges about four days before trial.
Ms. Stewart has long believed that it is worthwhile to finish what you start, a belief that helped to form her policy of only taking cases all the way to the end. But at this stage of life, she has come to realize that she can do more good by helping to shape cases beyond the well of the courtroom. For these reasons, Law Office of Jocelyn C Stewart will now offer legal services to participate in cases where our trial attorneys won’t be front and center to try the case. Our attorneys are available to coach, mentor, and to guide a case in the following non-exhaustive ways:
- Identifying Motions
- Drafting Motions
- Coaching Military Counsel on Litigating Motions
- Identifying Danger Points
- Drafting Voir Dire Questions
- Investigation Guidance
- Preparing an Accused to Testify
- Drafting Cross-Examination of the Complainant
- Case Preparation
- Case Strategy
- Panel Selection
- Drafting Panel Member Instructions
- Offering Ideas for Closing Argument
- Sentencing Case Structuring and Organization
A friend reminded Ms. Stewart recently that even though not everyone can afford full representation, there are plenty of people who still need and value our time.
As Ms. Stewart approaches a later phase in her career, time has taken on a different meaning for her. We believe very strongly that we should be engaging in only those endeavors which provide meaning and fulfillment.
We feel strongly that we are obligated to make sure that we areusing our time and talents to help others. Ms. Stewart and her team have been drawn to this work for quite a while. Yet not everyone is able to afford full representation. And justice should not be for sale.
After much thought and consideration, we are announcing that we are available to come onto a case without being in front of the bar, a stark change in prior policies.
For different rates based on the person’s specific scenario and for varying degrees of involvement, this serves a notice for consultation services to assist military counsel, to potentially draft motions and to coach the uniformed counsel how to litigate those motions, and even to provide case strategy and “murder boarding” of trials.
To schedule a time to discuss how we can best help in a case, please check the calendar here.