Over the last decade, we have thought a lot about criminal defence and related subjects, and have developed quite a few views. Here are some of them:
On guilty pleas: If you go to trial, you might be convicted. But if you plead guilty, you will definitely be convicted. That is not to say that you should never plead guilty – we do occasionally recommend guilty pleas and plea deals to our clients – but the most valuable right any accused person enjoys is the right to force the prosecution to prove its case at a fair trial. Do not give this up unless you are getting something valuable and tangible in return.
On fees: Expertise comes at a cost. While we think that if you compare our fees to those of lawyers with comparable abilities you will find them to be competitive, there is no doubt that retaining strong defence counsel is not cheap. However, we do believe in working with our clients to develop payment plans that work for them. We also believe in fee transparency. We don’t bill by the hour, and will be able to give you a clear idea of the total costs you will be facing before you make any decisions about plea deals or going to trial.
On marketing: We're not on social media, we don't blog, and you won't see Steve's face on billboards. In contrast to our multi-pronged approach to criminal defence, our approach to marketing is decidedly single-pronged: get good results for our clients. It hasn't failed us yet.
On profile: Steve is not a high profile lawyer. Despite handling a large number of often very serious cases, he is very seldom in the news. If this gives you pause, think about it this way: if he's in the news, so are your criminal charges.
On liking our clients: Steve once attended a talk by the great Ontario defence lawyer Marie Henein, in which she recalled being asked by various clients whether she liked them. During the talk, she dismissively responded "I don't know. Probably not--I don't like most people. Who cares?" Her point, as Steve understood it, is that a defence lawyer does their best for their client no matter what. Despite this, Steve actually does like most of his clients. He often sincerely believes in their innocence too.
But the real guarantee that you'll get our best work is neither of these things--nor, in truth, is it our professional obligation to represent our clients to the best of our ability within the confines of the law, though we certainly take that obligation seriously. Rather, it is this: we might care about you, but we definitely care about winning. We will give you our very best because ego demands no less.
On power imbalances: In the criminal justice system, the prosecution has access to the investigative resources of the police, and to the funds necessary to call expert witnesses. Accused persons often do not. Some people think that this tilts the field in favour of the prosecution. We disagree: while you may not have pockets as deep as the Crown’s, as an accused person you have the benefit of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the constitutional right to a fair trial, and the ability to seek remedies for improper police conduct. In the hands of skilled counsel, these are powerful weapons indeed.
On dogs: Clients sometimes call us saying that they’re looking for a real pitbull to represent them. That’s not Steve. He’s something lankier and more pompous, like a Great Dane with a monocle. It works for him – trust us.
#870 Phipps-McKinnon Building
10020 101A Avenue NW, Edmonton AB, T5J 3G2
Ph: 587-442-0453 Fax: 587-442-2816
08:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Closed from 12pm - 1pm daily