I grew up in a family which immigrated to the United States in the 1960’s. Although both of my parents worked and were active in the community, neither was fluent in speaking and writing English.
While living in the Bronx, New York, we always lived in apartment buildings. I remember being about fourteen years old and living on the seventh floor. There was a laundry room located directly above our apartment. One day, the water pipes burst and caused our apartment to flood. The Super (building maintenance supervisor) came into our apartment and assessed the damage. The apartment manager agreed to repaint the walls but refused to replace the carpet. My father asked me to call the manager’s office and request a reconsideration. They refused to replace the carpet but offered to bring in fans to dry them out. The fans did not solve the problem. Although my father continued to ask them to replace the carpeting, they refused. My father had to pay to replace the carpeting and then sued the complex in small claims court.
I went to court with him expecting only to act as an interpreter; however, when our case was called and I looked to my father to take the lead, he told me “Go ahead. You tell the judge what happened. I don’t need to speak. You know what to do.” My first reaction was, “I know what to do? Who are you kidding?” As my panic increased and I looked for the nearest exit, the attorney for the complex stood and stated to the court, “We object to their claim. There is no evidence that the carpet was damaged and/or repaired.” The judge, obviously seeing that I was only a kid, looked at the attorney and told him to “sit down”. He then looked at me and asked very gently, “what happened?” I remember feeling empowered by the knowledge that the judge was actually interested in what I had to say and was not going to let the lawyer bully or intimidate me. I told the judge what happened and produced receipts for the replaced carpeting. The lawyer stood back up and said “Judge, there is no evidence that those receipts are true and accurate.” The judge glowered at the attorney and said, “do YOU have any evidence that they are not true and accurate?” The lawyer put his head down and said nothing in response. The judge then announced “judgment for the Plaintiff.”
Although I did not understand what that really meant, I knew that we won. I immediately developed the opinion that the legal system was an awesome process. That is when I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be the person that stood up for what was right and to fight to prove it. The law was definitely to be my calling.
That experience (plus years of watching “L.A. Law”) confirmed my path towards the legal field. Experiencing life made it clear that not only was it important to “be right” but moreso “being able to prove it.” I have applied my love for the law, and desire to protect my client’s rights to how I practice as an attorney. I choose to work with individuals that I believe I can help – sometimes I am able to help with more than just the court process. As needed, I help clients find services, re-evaluate their situation and improve their options globally. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of listening and helping them find their own solutions.
I have an opportunity to help my clients make decisions that will better their futures. I treat that opportunity as a moral duty to my clients. They rely on me to explain the process, facilitate the experience and mitigate their exposure. I ethically apply my skills, experience and education to provide common sense counsel to my clients. My clients have been fortunate and successful in most cases. They have acknowledged my efforts and their satisfaction by expressing their appreciation in words and by referring friends and family members. My approach to working with clients is that I will not take a case that I do not believe that I can be of help to my client.
Since 1993, I have represented clients charged with felonies such as murder, abduction, robbery, maliscious wounding, grand larceny, sexual assault, pornography, arson, embezzlement, destruction of property, felony DUI/DWI, and drug possession and/or distribution. My attitude when defending clients charged with misdemeanor offenses such as shoplifting, possession of marijuana, underage possession of alcohol, assault, DUI/DWI and reckless driving, is no less aggressive or serious. The consquences for some misdemeanor convictions can be as serious as that for felony convictions, e.g., loss of security clearances, termination of employment, immigration consequences, and loss of scholarships.
My approach to the case is that for my client, the level of the offense is important, but it is the process that can be the most stressful and intimidating. I work with my clients to assess the crime, the facts of the case, and their personal situation. How does this case affect the person? That is a major part of what I choose to do for my client. Help them address the entire problem – legal and personal – so that they understand what is happening, understand their options and make the best decision for the long term. Also, to help them know that being charged with a crime does not identify them or make them less worthy as a person- it is a challenge for us to help them overcome.
Being a lawyer has allowed me to meet amazing people and, for a moment in their life, be their champion. If given the opportunity to work with you, I promise you the same dedication. I will do my best to protect your interests and guide you through the legal process. Let me be your champion!