Located in a building that looks more like a townhouse than an office complex, the Law Office of James K. Weick Jr. is a comfortable, no-frills environment with enough golf paraphernalia to please someone with five holes-in-one under his belt. Which is fitting, as Attorney Weick dropped that many before turning 19. (He’s anxious for number six.)
“It’s hard to find a criminal defense attorney who’s so down to Earth,” says Theresa Capobianco, legal office assistant at the Law Office. “If you met Jim on the street, you’d never know he’s been doing criminal law for nearly 20 years.”
Here’s what James Weick Jr. had to say about his services and treating clients like people.
Before we launch into the cases you’re capable of handling, talk about your background. Make me trust you based on your experience.
JW: I graduated from Ohio Northern University School of Law in 1993 and became a prosecutor right away in Ohio, taking on every kind of prosecution from traffic tickets to murder. I moved to Florida in ‘97, working for the State Attorney’s office in Broward County until 2004. Most of the work I did there involved sex crimes. Since 2004, I’ve worked on my own as a criminal defense attorney. So from ‘93 on, I’ve done nothing but criminal law.
With that background, I imagine you know quite a bit about how to provide good defense. What kind of cases do you normally handle?
JW: A large portion of my practice is in sex crimes and other major crimes—drug trafficking, murder, burglary.
When you say sex defense, what is the array of sex crimes you come across?
JW: Sex crimes can be anything from public indecency to date rape. Sex crimes can also be pornography on computers. The United States Government has been cracking down on computer sex crimes. It is important to remember that even an accusation of a sex crime can have a devastating effect on a client’s family, job, and reputation. In these types of cases it is critical to get an attorney involved as soon as an allegation has been made.
I know it will differ client by client, but what do you consider success?
JW: I view criminal situations in two modes. The first includes DUIs and domestic violence, those crimes anybody can get arrested for. Success in these types of cases is saving my clients’ jobs by getting the cases broken down to a lesser offense. On the contrary, when dealing with sex crimes or other major crimes, the stakes are much higher, including potentially life in prison. Success for someone facing life in prison is often negotiating a sentence that the client can accept. Basically, I consider it success when the client is happy at the end of the day, and it happens more often than not.
I try very hard to connect with my clients. We spend a lot of time discussing options, reviewing discovery, discussing witness testimony, and analyzing trial strategies. I don’t take a lot of cases to ensure that all of my clients have easy access to my office and personal, one-on-one attention.
There are two people in your firm: yourself and Theresa. Why do you run such a small ship, and why does this matter to your clients?
JW: It’s important for me to be happy. I’m happy having fewer clients, instead of taking every person who walks through the door. When I’m happy and interested in my cases, my clients are the benefactors of that. I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. It’s cliché, but it’s the way I like to do it.
I’ve heard that you’re an incredibly kind person, even after working in this line of business for almost 20 years. What do you do to keep a sense of humanity and not become jaded?
JW: When I went to law school, I learned quickly the only type of law I liked was criminal. It’s what I’m interested in and passionate about, so it is much easier to not let things affect me. Also, my other hobbies and passions allow me to escape the everyday grind.
Why is it important to have access to the same lawyer time and again?
JW: Most people who need a criminal defense attorney get the process incorrect from rumors or what they see on TV. When someone gets arrested, everyone wants to give an opinion, and they’re usually not correct. I spend a lot of time educating clients on how the criminal system works and what needs to be done to get them out of their situation. People who have been arrested inevitably have 100 questions, and since we’re a small firm, we can take the time to give answers and help relieve the stress they’re under. Over time, this builds trust, and clients know the answers we give them are accurate and honest.
What do you say if someone brings you a case you can’t win?
JW: A lot of times people have unrealistic expectations. People always want to hear the guarantee that they’re not going to jail. I tell everybody that I’m not in the fortune-telling business. Instead, I promise to work hard and aggressively on their behalf. I’m a glass-half-empty person. I will always tell clients to lower their expectations and hope for the best. I have found after 20 years of helping people, giving them the straight, honest truth at the beginning fosters a respect and appreciation from the client and their family.
Interested in finding out how James K. Weick can help you? Call 954-745-5818, visit www.weicklaw.com, or head to their offices at 612 southeast 5th Avenue, Suite 3, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Published at Club Cabeza.