This week, we profile attorney Jeff Adachi:
CEB: What is your practice area and how did you choose it?
Jeff: I currently serve as the elected Public Defender in San Francisco and have worked as a criminal defense trial attorney for my entire career. My passion for this work came with a case involving an innocent man who was on death row. I worked on the case for seven years and decided I wanted to be a public defender.
CEB: What do you like best and least about practicing law?
Jeff: I love the fact you never know what’s going to happen day-to-day. I haven’t been bored for a minute in 22 years and still enjoy trying cases, although most of my work is adminstrative.
CEB: What CEB book have you found most helpful in your practice?
Jeff: The Criminal Law Procedure and Practice handbook is bar none the best book ever written on criminal trial practice and procedure. Every criminal defense practitioner should have one or two! I have written a chapter for the book since 1985, and am constantly amazed at the breadth of information and experience reflected in its pages. It is written exclusively by defense attorneys, judges and prosecutors who are experts in their areas, so it is both practical and informative.
CEB: What is the best legal tip you ever received?
Jeff: Treat a trial just like you’re sitting in the jurors’ living room. Talk to them, don’t lecture.
CEB: How do you think the practice of law will change in the next 15 years?
Jeff: There is more emphasis now on collaborative courts, but we can’t neglect improving the adversarial process. It works and should be improved upon, because it’s the only way that justice is delivered consistently, provided that all of the parties have equal access to resources.
CEB: What are the most interesting books you have read (lately)?
Jeff: I enjoyed Game Change about the 2008 Presidential race, and Ordinary Injustice by Amy Bach. Ms. Bach spent 8 years in misdemeanor courts and concluded that flagrant violations of citizens’ rights occur all the time.
CEB: What is your contact information?
CEB: Thank you, Jeff!
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