“You have to keep in mind that no situation is black or white,”
Michael Mines, criminal defence lawyer, Vancouver, British Columbia
WHAT ARE THE REASONS YOU CHOSE TO GO INTO CRIMINAL LAW?
What I like is the human dynamic. I’m entrusted to help people with serious problems and to represent them in court. I become their voice. These interactions can be really intense in criminal law at times.
On top of that you have all the drama of presenting arguments before the court. I enjoy the responsibility of standing up to the police and other authorities who enjoy a lot of power. Then I have a personal reason as well—my father was an immigrant with limited education, who pushed me towards the law. Thanks to my profession, I feel respected and listened to.
HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK FOR YOURSELF?
Very early on I wanted to launch my own firm. When I was articling, my employer wanted to hire me, and yet he encouraged me to go into business for myself and helped me in doing the groundwork. Not only did he give me advice, he also referred clients to me so I could start the business!
WHAT KINDS OF CASES DO YOU HANDLE?
I handle all kinds of things, from offences committed in a vehicle to accusations of murder. For each case, you have to scrupulously study the way in which the police conducted its investigation. My goal is to ensure that my client will be treated fairly during the entire legal proceedings. And in a fair number of cases, the version of the facts accepted by the court differs from what was noted in the police report. I’ve represented people accused of aggravated assault. They were finally found not guilty because they had good reasons for defending themselves or a third party. You have to keep in mind that no situation is black or white.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE A GOOD CRIMINAL LAWYER?
Your legal training has to be very solid. But then you have to be able to adapt your knowledge to the situations you encounter. It’s essential to understand what drives the people you deal with—not just the accused, but the prosecution, witnesses, the police, judges, etc.
Read more on criminal law on Mines & Company, the Michael Mines’s law firm website here: http://mineslaw.com/