Monday, October 19, 2009

Sprucing up your criminal client for court - WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL

by Jack Zemlicka

October 19, 2009

Image matters. And it especially matters when your criminal client is facing trial.

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There’s a risk that allowing a client to be too comfortable can damage his or her credibility.

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While criminal defense attorneys agree that sloppy or too-casual clients can be a problem, “overdressing” a client is also risky.

Outside appearances count

Hurley, Burish & Stanton attorney Erik R. Guenther notes that the need for a professional appearance can extend outside of court.

If there is a trial with significant public interest, Guenther recommends controlling the client’s image in the media, even before opening arguments are made.

“I generally will try to provide a studio photo of a client [to the media] rather than a mug shot,” he said.

Assuming a client is not in custody, Guenther typically makes arrangement to have the person get a professional head shot done at a local studio. He then circulates the pictures to various media outlets that may have an interest in the case. He said that most choose to run the head-shot.

“It’s really not just white-collar crimes, but anything that generates media interest,” Guenther said. “It’s a way to remind people that there is a presumption of innocence and my client has a right to a fair trial.”


The full article is available here.

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