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Guest Post from Our Law Clerk : Julia Ronnebaum

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Okay this really isn’t a guest post at all, in fact I’m the one who has authored many of the blogs for Grover Law Firm. But today marks the last day of my internship with this firm, so I wanted to dedicate my last blog to the importance of small firms and defense lawyers.

In my time with Grover Law, I have learned more about the practical application of the law than any case book can hope to teach me. While any legal intern will likely agree with my statement, I am convinced that a small law firm provides a better-rounded and more hands-on experience than internships with larger firms. This speaks to the demand for versatility that any solo-practitioner or small-firm lawyer must answer to on a weekly basis. From contract drafting, to personal injury trials, to traffic ticket amendments, Mark Grover, the attorney I work for here at Grover Law, can do it all.

Versatility is part of what makes solo or small law firms so friendly. Just like you’re neighborhood Applebee’s, a small-firm lawyer can provide legal service to you and your family for a lifetime. We have had several clients come to us for help with a traffic ticket or a DUI and then return for review of a business contract, and even for help in drafting their wills.

The small firm is not going out of style any time soon, in fact legal job market trends indicate that more law students are hanging out their own shingle than ever before. Don’t get me wrong, large firms have a lot to offer their clients, and in some cases, specialization in legal areas is necessary in extremely large commercial cases. However, most people seek out a lawyer to help them solve a very personal, often embarrassing, legal problem. Small-firm lawyers are equipped to give their clients the individualized attention their case requires.

When I started law school, I never thought I would be interested in criminal law, yet here I am interning with an attorney who specializes in criminal defense. I’ve come to find several admirable reasons for defending individuals charged with criminal misdemeanors or felonies. First of all, those individuals are often just like you and me, with a family and a career and a plan for a criminal-free future. These individuals not only deserve a fair trial but often deserve a second change by way of a diversion or probation or any other state-implemented restoration program. Second, the State does bear the burden of proving an individual guilty before punishment may be enforced. Defendants can use attorneys to hold the State accountable to that burden of proof and prevent unfair or unreasonable punishments that don’t fit the crime. And third, assuming the defendant is not guilty at all, defense attorneys keep the justice system accountable by questioning every fact and protecting their client from wrongful accusations.

A criminal record is no joke. It can severely restrict your future goals, so it’s important that attorneys on both sides take each case very seriously. The bottom line, is everyone deserves an advocate. I know attorneys get a bad rep… but remember, you hate em’ til you need em! And once you do, it’s comforting to feel the personal attention that a small firm can give you. “Practical. Compassionate. Your dedicated advocate.”

It’s been a pleasure,
Julia Ronnebaum
Second-Year Law Student
University of Kansas School of Law