Message from Michael Streng, OACDL President
“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” Winston Churchill.
As criminal defense lawyers our role is to seek all of these fundamental ideals.
Freedom. Frequently the liberty of our client is at stake. It is our responsibility to make sure it is not taken without due process and only after proof beyond a reasonable doubt is established.
Justice. To make certain our client is afforded fair treatment.
Honor. To do what is right for our client, toward the court and toward opposing counsel.
Duty. To uphold our responsibility as an advisor and advocate for our client and as an officer of the court.
Mercy. We must show and seek compassion for our client.
Hope. We offer our client hope for the best possible outcome.
By remembering these ideals, each of us raises the bar and improves our individual reputations. When we all remember these ideals, we collectively raise the reputation of the criminal defense bar and demonstrate the value of the criminal defense lawyer in the administration of justice in a manner that reflects this honorable calling.
To the end of achieving these ideals and promoting the highest ethical standards within our profession and membership, I encourage everyone to take a moment and review three items:
- The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct
- The Ohio Supreme Court’s publication on Do’s and Don’ts for Prosecutors and Defense Lawyers.
- The Ohio Supreme Court’s publication on Professional Ideals for Judges and Lawyers.
They are helpful reminders of what we need to do to be strong and ethical advocates for our clients as well as increase our reputation individually and as a group.
I believe the OACDL stands for and embodies these ideals and aims to serve and support our members while encouraging the utmost professionalism in the pursuit of these ideals. The mission of the OACDL is to defend the rights of those accused of a criminal offense within the bounds of the law; to educate and develop our member attorneys’ skills and knowledge to defend people; to foster, promote and maintain the integrity, independence and expertise of member attorneys; and to educate the public to the role of the criminal defense lawyer in the justice system.
In an effort to achieve this mission, the OACDL has no less than ten seminars already scheduled throughout Ohio for the upcoming year. Our seminars will focus on the latest issues presented by experienced lawyers and experts from Ohio and across the United States. We have increased our focus on helping our members deal with the unique stressors and challenges our vocation places on us and will have a four-part series on “mental health in our profession” incorporated into these seminars. With many of the seminars, there are receptions where we can gather for fellowship and comradery with our brothers and sisters in the trenches. In an effort to serve all of our members, the OACDL has created a Senior Committee to assist and educate our members on issues we face as we prepare for, approach and enter into retirement as well as allow for social events and mentoring opportunities. Additionally, the OACDL aspires to keep our membership up to date on pending legislation and public policy that affects our clients and our practices. All of this is in addition to the list serve, the strike force, amicus assistance and many more benefits of membership.
Being a criminal defense lawyer is a noble calling. We not only help individuals by advising and advocating for them when they may feel they have no voice, but we protect the rights of individuals and shape the rule of law though our motions, briefs and arguments within each case. Senator Edward Kennedy stated, “I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.”
I encourage everyone to pursue liberty and justice in each of your client’s cases and know you are making a difference.