Nobody Cares If You Used To Be a Prosecutor



I’m in law school and think I want to be a prosecutor.  It’s a noble profession, and all my friends and family approve.  Why wouldn’t they?  Too many criminals get off, and I’m feeling righteous so I’m going to do something about that.

So, before I even graduate, I’m looking to volunteer. I’m calling prosecutor’s offices all over- somebody could use some free help, right?

I work limited hours and summers for free as I finish out my schooling. I’m dedicated to my cause (and these jobs are competitive) so I go that extra mile and take criminal law classes in school. I even write my law school paper on the justice system, and how a more rigid system of penalties can fix the world’s problems.  All of them.

The hard work pays off, too. I graduate, pass the bar and get hired on as an actual paid prosecutor.  I love my job!

I start by working on traffic cases. Then I graduate to misdemeanors, and on to DUI. It’s a great job with great people, and I get to tell my friends and family how fun it is to put away all those “bad guys” that Nancy Grace talks about.  I don’t bow to defense attorneys, and nobody gets a free pass on one of my cases!

One day, I’m sitting in court prosecuting people.  All the sudden it dawns on me that even though I rock at this job and even though I’m fixing all the problems I whined about in law school, and even though my family knows I’m making the world a better place- even though there’s all of that, it’s like a switch got flipped and I want to defend people.  Like, BAM! I can’t explain it but I’m just going to do it.

I don’t have any reason, let alone any good reasons.

That makes total sense, right?  Of course it doesn’t.  You know what makes even less sense? If I pretend (and advertise to the public) that being a former prosecutor makes me better at defending people.

Because, even though I’ve spent the better part of a decade locking people up and bragging to everybody about it, being a prosecutor is magic. It prepares you for everything.  One day I was sitting in court and it just dawned on me… not only am I going to defend people for no real reason, I’m going to staff almost an entire office with people who formerly had zero interest in defending the accused.

Still makes no sense, right?  If it does, you’re missing the sarcasm. You’re not the only one.  (You can forward to about 41 seconds if you want to cut right to the part that makes me giggle).

He could have said he has a hard time sleeping knowing innocent people get convicted. Or that he doesn’t like that the system is more concerned with rules than the truth. Or, even, that the only way the system works at all is because there are people pushing back against the government.

He could have said any of that, or about a billion other things. He didn’t, though. Probably because none of that came to him.

You think former prosecutors have some awesome inside knowledge that makes them fantastic defense attorneys? Like, there is some secret handshake or prosecutor’s secret they teach you when you’re first starting out prosecuting speeding tickets?  That’s exactly how it goes down. On your first day they call you into an office for a conversation that starts with, “If you tell anybody this prosecutor’s secret the whole world will collapse, but…”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there are some absolutely fantastic defense attorneys who were once prosecutors. There are also a lot of incredible defense attorneys who never prosecuted anybody. The idea that being a former prosecutor gives you a leg up on anybody is a ludicrous marketing technique. Nothing more.

Maybe next time he should let me write his youtube video.  We can brainstorm real reasons to love this job.  And we can talk about getting rid of that horrible, fake background.

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