As you probably know, I am a former Georgia state and federal prosecutor. I left the U.S. Attorney's Office several years ago, after a 20 year career, to go into private practice, when my oldest son graduated from law school. Now, I am an Augusta, Georgia criminal defense attorney! While it has been a major change, I wanted the chance to work with my son. I am also happy to report that my second son will graduate from law school and join us here in several months! And I am equally delighted that our third son will join us at the Goolsby Law Firm when he graduates from law school in a couple of years! The Goolsby Law Firm will be composed of a father and three sons! We will truly be a family law firm!
But that is not the point of this post! The point I wanted to make involves the fact that lawyers often face challenges when they "switch sides." One of my fears is revealed by a true "war story" told about a local criminal defense lawyer. Like me, he had been a prosecutor for most of his career and then had switched to the "dark side!" Soon, after entering private practice, the old prosecutor was defending a man accused of armed robbery. Everything went fine during the trial, until closing argument. Then, before he could catch himself, out of habit, the former D.A. urged the jury to "return a GUILTY verdict!" Can you imagine his embarrassment? Can you imagine how his client felt?
As a criminal defense lawyer, (and former federal prosecutor), I hope and pray that, if I keep telling and re-telling this story, then maybe it will never happen to me!