What I learned from Wade Smith about Professionalism

In the MacDonald case, now a long time ago, in the last day of the trial, Wade Smith, a defense attorney for MacDonald was supposed to make a one hour closing argument. His co-counsel had other ideas and took all the time, leaving Wade only one minute.  Because I was afraid the judge might give him more time, I offered Wade ten minutes that I had in reserve.  He took it but it was not enough time.

About two years later, Wade and I were trying another federal case, and I had run out of jury challenges, with only eleven of the twelve jurors selected.  The judge refused to take the newest potential juror off the panel, even though he personally was friends with the defendant.  I was toast.  And then, Wade, at the Bench, told the judge he wanted to repay the favor from two years before and offered me one of his challenges, which I took and used.

We talked about that this past week. He said he was trying to be a serious lawyer, and a respected one.  Amazing.  The judge who tried that case still says it is the highest form of professionalism he has ever seen in his courtroom.


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