by jkatejohnston

11 October 2013

Dear Max,

I can feel myself about to write about work.

Don’t. Do. It.

All I’ll say is that back when I was a criminal defense lawyer, I only had one case in ten years that I wouldn’t have been delighted to win outright, and that was an expert serial rapist of long standing. (And we did win part of that one—not guilty on one of the five victims, so that he only got 330-years-to-life.)

Anyway, I’ve never had the slightest distaste for killers. I can’t figure out if it’s comforting or the opposite that most people who’ve taken someone else’s life are pretty much perfectly ordinary guys. Evil is rare. They guys I didn’t like—it wasn’t because of what they’d done, it was because they were a pain in the ass. And the victories in criminal defense are usually undramatic but satisfying. Getting a bullshit misdemeanor assault dismissed. Getting a murder down to a manslaughter. Reducing the amount of restitution to a pittance that you know your client is never going to pay anyway.

Now that I work for the Gov I win practically every case outright, and it feels a bit unsporting.