Interviewer: Do you find that you have to tailor your arguments depending on who you’re in front of? Or you’re not allowed to do that? Will it work?
Brian Sloan: You always have to know your audience. Whether it’s a judge, whether it’s a jury, you need to know who you’re talking to. You need to change it up all the time. Whoever your jury makeup is, you really need to talk to that person. It can’t be a cookie cutter argument to every jury that you’re in front of. It can’t be the same cookie cutter arguments in front of every judge.
You really need to have a little bit background knowledge of the judge that you’re in front of, and tailor your argument based on what you observe the judge approving of.
Always Room for Improvement: An Experienced Attorney Also Realizes That the Learning Process Never Ends
Interviewer: Do you feel like you have enough experience in the courts after nine years? That you know all the judges? That you know how they work? Or are you still learning?
Brian Sloan: Learning never ends. I can’t say that I am an absolute master and there’s nothing else I can learn. Any attorney that says that is really not a good attorney. There’s so much to know. There’s so much to learn. The law is always evolving. Judges are always evolving as well.
The Law Is a Continuously Evolving Field
I can’t say that I’ve been in front of every judge in the entire county. I’ve been in front of the judge one day and made an argument and the judge agrees with me. I literally been in front of that same judge the following day with the exact same arguments, and they don’t agree with me.
It’s really amazing how quickly things can change, but you need to be able to adapt. Knowing the judges, knowing who you’re in front of, what type of arguments they’re receptive to is helpful. It helps with clients to evolve and learn every day that you’re in court.
How Beneficial Is an Attorney’s Reputation? How Does Your Attorney Act in Front of the Prosecutors and Judges?
Interviewer: Do you explain this part of the process to your clients?
Brian Sloan: Yes. I believe you need to know a little bit about the judges. The reputation that I try to have in front of all the judges, I think, benefits my clients. I try to cultivate a reputation in front of the judges and in front of the prosecutors as someone that really believes in the arguments that I make.
A Good Reputation Earns the Attorney Credibility in the Courtroom
I don’t file motions for the sake of filing motions. I don’t try to put on a show for my clients just so they think I’m doing a good job. It doesn’t help my clients; it just puts on a show for my clients. There are plenty of attorneys out there that do their jobs by putting on a show.
If I can go in front of a judge and the judge knows that I wrote a motion just for this client, and it is not a motion that I filed for the 20 clients that I had before, it helps in getting the judge to understand my argument. It helps my credibility in front of that judge when I’m arguing in front of the judge.
Does a Good Reputation Help an Attorney Earn Respect from the Court Personnel?
Interviewer: The judge and the prosecutors know that you’re serious. You don’t do anything just frivolously so they will tend to respect what you do?
Brian Sloan: That’s what I try to do. When I try to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecutor, I tell them what I truly believe is appropriate. They can have their own opinion. If they agree with me, fantastic, if they don’t agree with me, then I might have to take the case to trial and prove to them my side.
Does the Ability to Successfully Take a Case to Trial and Win Earn the Attorney Respect as Well?
Hopefully, I can show the prosecutor that if you’re going up against me in trial, that there’s a good chance you’re losing. The best way to get respect sometimes from a prosecutor is to fight them and to show them that you know what you’re doing. So the next time, when I ask for a reasonable plea bargain, give it to me.