As attorneys handling criminal matters, many times we meet clients for the first time after they are charged with criminal offenses.  Of course, this makes sense; oftentimes our clients do not anticipate being charged with crimes beforehand and thus are forced to react and respond post-charge.  As defense attorneys, we are adept to handle anything that comes our way, whenever it comes our way, but in this scenario, the preparation of a defense to the charges is entirely reactive.  At this point, the prosecutors have already crystallized their theory of the case, and the job of a good defense attorney at this stage is to convince them, the judge, or a jury that the prosecution’s theory doesn’t hold up.

While the above scenario is not always avoidable, we urge our corporate and individual clients to come to us sooner, to ask us for help before they are charged or accused of wrongdoing.  When our clients heed this advice, they can better avail themselves of more proactive strategies. So what do we mean by this?  We have pinpointed some scenarios when you may wish to call an attorney before the trouble hits the fan:

  1. When the numbers don’t add up. If you are a bookkeeper or spend your days reviewing spreadsheets, and if you realize that the numbers don’t add up, say something or seek counsel. Don’t turn a blind eye to accounting irregularities because so doing may ensnare you or the company in wrongdoing. Instead, ask questions, loudly if need be. Under the law, oftentimes deliberate ignorance or willful blindness to obvious criminal activity will land you, the otherwise innocent bookkeeper, in hot water.
  2. When your employer is cutting corners.  If you discover your employer is cutting corners on critical training or compliance with industry standards, speak up or seek help.  This is especially important if the training is related to safety measures that the employer should be adopting.  In many industries, the employee who speaks up will be entitled to whistleblower protections, preventing retaliation from the employer who is cutting corners.
  3. When injustices are occurring. Whether you are an employee or employer, boss or subordinate, if you are a first-hand witness to discrimination in the workplace, or harassment or threatening behavior, say something or seek counsel.

Attorneys are always poised to help but are much better positioned to do so when they learn about the problematic activity sooner rather than later.  Next month we will discuss one of these proactive strategies for businesses: the all-important compliance review and what this entails.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or acted on as such. The content on this page may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. It does not create an attorney-client relationship or provide guarantees or endorsement of behavior and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney on a particular legal matter.