Guest Blog By Sarah Illg:
Over the last several months, I was fortunate enough to shadow Mr. Lawson while I await the results of my Bar exam on October 27th. Although I have been employed with the Law Offices of Richard Lawson for three years, I immediately noticed that working behind a desk is different from working inside a courtroom. The courtroom exposure is an experience that cannot be given a price. Every day in the courtroom is different because each prosecutor and judge is different; each client has issues that are unique to that specific case. Whether Mr. Lawson knows it or not, after 23 years of experience, he is able to adjust and adapt to different personality traits with ease. When Mr. Lawson introduces me to Judges and courtroom personnel, he always tells them, "I think I have one or two things to teach Sarah while she observes the next couple months.” Truth is: there is much, much more I can learn from him.
The more I observe of Mr. Lawson, the more I question how anyone charged with a crime would ever feel comfortable proceeding through the legal system without legal help. There are answers that can be learned by reading statutes or traffic manuals; however, there are things that can only be learned through years of experience as a Georgia DUI expert. Little details and exceptions can be the difference between an ordinary outcome and an exceptional outcome.
For example, Mr. Lawson recently represented a client charged with several traffic violations one of which included DUI. After the blood results for our client came back negative across the page, the prosecutor offered to dismiss the DUI charge and have our client plead guilty to failure to maintain lane. Most people would say this is an incredible outcome and would jump on the prosecutor's offer. However, with 23 years of experience under Mr. Lawson's belt, he knew for his client to be eligible for record restriction, ALL of the charges must be dismissed – not just the DUI. Mr. Lawson made several court appearances for this client and convinced the court to dismiss every charge; he was skillful and patient in his approach. Like a surgeon who masterfully uses a scalpel as a tool, Mr. Lawson uses his 23 years of experience to understand his client's needs and offer solutions based on those needs.
There is more to the law than knowing statutes and understanding legal issues. I am learning that no matter how many years of experience, there are always new challenges and new problems to brainstorm. For instance, with the new changes to Georgia law in July 2017, clients arrested for DUI that refuse to take a state-administered test are now able to install an interlock device on their car which allows them to continue to fight their case without giving up their driving privileges. Although this is a new change for everyone, I have watched Mr. Lawson expertly advise numerous clients and brainstorm the best route according to their needs.
Bottom line, no amount of self-research replaces the expert advice and support of a Georgia DUI attorney. Years of experience cannot be replicated or taught through a textbook. Many people erroneously believe they can tackle their DUI on their own. However, we receive frantic calls every few weeks from callers who decided not to obtain legal representation and now their license is suspended, or they missed a deadline that now effects the rest of their case. Failure to pay attention to the smallest details can create the biggest disasters, many of which cannot be fixed later. I have been extremely fortunate to follow alongside Mr. Lawson the last several months and I am looking forward to my continued mentorship as I await my bar results in a few weeks!
Sarah Illg is a recent graduate of Mercer School of Law. She has been employed with the Law Office Law Office of Richard Lawson for the past three years. She is awaiting her bar results. For more information about Georgia DUI Penalties, check back often.