Guide to being a Lawyer
This guide was originally created by FlatoftheBlade. It can be found here
Law 101: Breaking in your Leather Shoes
Obviously, know your Space Law, that's just a given, and it's not what I'm here to teach you, there is already a book for that. I will teach you how to take your existing knowledge of Space Law and apply it to day-to-day practices.
Tools of the Trade
You will start out with:
- A laser pointer
- A briefcase
- Universal recorder
- Two copies of Space Law
- Four empty folders
- A stamp
- A photocopier
The above are all useful and underutilized tools.
There are a number of other objects that you can grab that may be of use to you:
- Sunglasses: These will protect you from flashers in the brig. The warden has two pairs of non-security HUD sunglasses in his office, and it is common practice to distribute them to lawyers. Ask politely. If denied, try politely persisting. If denied, the excuse will usually be that security is not setting up flashers. Point out that the cell flashers can still get you if you stand near. If they still say 'no,' don't push it; this is not worth getting your access revoked over.
- Security HUD glasses: These will be much harder to convince sec to give you. Don't push it, but if you happen to meet a particularly accommodating Warden or HoS, take them up on it. These will help you identify people who are set to arrest and assist them before they are even detained.
- Camera: Will help you document abuses of suspects. Some librarians have no interest in journalism; try asking them for theirs.
- Medical kits: Prisoners are often detained, battered and not provided access to healthcare. Try to get your hands on a medkit to help them out. If you are unable to do so, grab the bruise packs and ointment from the dormitory fitness room.
- Books: It doesn't hurt to entertain prisoners if they and you have nothing else to do and you are not busy.
A Word in Private? Always caution clients against saying anything about their alleged crimes to security. Don't ever openly talk to your client about charges, or they may incriminate themselves in front of security members. Ask to speak with clients privately in your office or the interrogation room. If security refuses, step right up to the cell door and whisper to your client, and ask any intrusive officers to please take a few steps back.
Law 490: How to Make Friends and Win Cases
As a defence lawyer, you are at an inherent disadvantage, you are in a position where you have to try to influence people who have more power than you and don't necessarily have to listen to you.
- They have uniforms, weapons and armour, you have a various administrative tools.
- They are part of a band of brothers, you are a lone wolf.
- You have to know when to be polite, respectful and helpful, and when to be forceful or even aggressive, all without being obnoxious.
The best contact for you to try to get on good terms with is the warden. They will be your first and most common point of contact when a suspect is detained. They have the authority to set brig times. Usually the HoS will be out and about and the warden will be the one making the decisions. However, if the warden is a fascist jerk, you will need to make another friend (or at least business acquaintance) who is more reasonable. The HoS and Captain are great people to provide a sympathetic ear if you need to go over the warden's head. Rank-and-file sec officers and detectives can sometimes be useful, but typically just fall in line with their bosses.
Regardless of who you deal with, be initially polite and then adjust depending on the level of courtesy and respect you receive, and whether politeness gets any results. Physically assaulting an officer will result in a loss of access, a demotion and criminal charges, so avoid this unless absolutely necessary (Example. Your client is being beaten to death or you are being arrested or having access revoked regardless).
Law 492: Know Your Officer
Although every individual is different, there are some common types of officer you will encounter, requiring different strategies:
- The Timid Rookie:
These enthusiastic whipper-snappers are keen on fighting antags, but have no idea what the hell they are doing, and have usually never read Space Law. They have little confidence when challenged which makes it relatively easy to persuade them to reduce or drop charges, or bully them into thinking they messed up even when they are doing their job properly. You can sometimes even completely make up laws, sentences or mitigate circumstances and they will believe you if you are forceful and authoritative sounding enough.
- Tough but Fair:
These are good cops who will not let you intimidate them and who will not back down when they are right, but will listen when you point out flaws in their charges or evidence. The best way to deal with them is to be respectful and give them due compliments when they concede a point and lower sentences or let suspects free. Do not antagonize them for no reason, or they become may less inclined to listen to you. Be grateful to have the opportunity to work with someone sane and competent.
- The Thug:
These guys think that the concept of “rights” for suspects is a joke, and resent your presence in the brig. They will, at best, try to ignore you completely, if they do not actively insult and threaten you. It is almost impossible to convince them of anything in character. Try to get someone who outranks them to set them straight, or put in a word to the gods to force them to correct themselves when they are unambiguously wrong. This type may end up revoking your access, arresting you, assaulting you, or killing you for doing your job (I told you the role was thankless). If things are completely hopeless and there is no way you can possibly get them to act like a human being, try throwing a donut at them and singing “this little piggy went to market,” if your access was going to get revoked anyways.
Law 494: Common Overcharges
There are a number of circumstances where more than one charge could be argued to apply to a crime. Security will usually err on the side of charging with the more serious offence. Your job is to argue for the less serious charge, or get them off completely. Note that as a negotiating tactic, it may be helpful to initially suggest an excessively low charge, than "settle" on a harsher, but still reduced charge.
- Attempted murder vs. Assault/Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Was the victim put into crit? No? Argue against an attempted murder charge until they concede or you collapse from exhaustion.
- Grand Sabotage vs. Creating a Workplace Hazard
- Unless intent can be proven, argue that your client is not malicious, just completely incompetent.
- Grand Theft vs. Theft
- Make sure that security doesn't take a liberal interpretation of the serious charges.
- Major Trespass vs. Trespass
- See above.
- "Enemy of the Corporation"
- Be very skeptical of this charge, it is often thrown out there when security wants to permabrig someone and doesn't have grounds.
- "Repeat Offender"
- Security will try to use this permabrig the clown for slipping people with a banana peel twice or whatever. Try not to let them.
Law 496: Excuses, Excuses
So, your client is in the interrogation room and a detective or cop is demanding answers.
"We Have Eyewitness!" There are other people with the same suit! A suit could have been stolen! Did you actually see him committing the crime, or was he simply in the area? Where are the witnesses? I demand to hear from them, and demand my client be released if they don't testify!
He Had Traitor Gear on Him! He found that and was coming to security to report it! Are there other prints on it? Are you the officer that conducted the search and, if not, where is the officer who supposedly found it? That's just a normal pen! That's just a normal gasmask! Those are just normal shoes! That's just a balloon!
We Have Forensic Evidence! He bumped into that door earlier! He used that tool to repair something and then dropped it, someone else must have used it in a murder! He hugged the victim earlier!
Law 498: Objections!
Nanotrasen trials tend to be hastily thrown together and messy. They are also put together by security/the prosecution, which places the defence at a huge disadvantage. There are many common practices they will try that you should fight until you are out of breath:
I am the Law! Object due to bias if the appointed judge is a member of security or a prosecution witness.
Prove a Negative! Object if you are asked to present a defence before the prosecution presents a case or charges are stated. It is impossible to defend yourself when you don't even know what you are defending against. The prosecution should always speak before the defence. If you are asked to "prove" your client's innocence, point out that it is impossible to do so and that the onus is on the prosecution to demonstrate guilt.
Double Jeopardy If an absurdly guilty client is found “not-guilty,” it is not uncommon for security or prosecution members to be convinced that the trial was a “mistake” and attempt to detain your client for a new trial. The verdict is valid, defend it and get the gods involved if you have to.
Law 666: The Other Side of The Law
Disclosure Fun fact: As a lawyer, you have access to the evidence room. If, heaven forbid, critical evidence were to somehow go missing prior to an important trial, it would be quite an embarrassment to security. Not to mention, there are all sorts of toys that end up there that might be of interest to someone with an appetite for theft or murder.
Cleaning Up the Brig In chaotic times, members of security are known to leave cuffs, armour, weapons and other equipment scattered across the floor of the brig before they rush out to deal with an emergency. They assume that if it is in the brig it is safe. Well, you or clients might have use for those items. Take them when nobody is looking, stash them in your office or anywhere else but on your person, and if asked say you don't know what happened to them.
Attorney-Client Privilege: It is perfectly acceptable, and common practice, to ask to speak with your client alone in the interview room. It is also quite common that you, your client and the warden will be the only people in the brig. Now, if you happen to be...particularly sympathetic to enemies of Nanotrasen, this affords you an exceptional opportunity to assist an ally, ambush and neutralize the warden, and obtain an ID that gives you and your friend access to the armoury.
The Pen is Mighty Lawyers are expected to carry pens. You can put one in your PDA, suit jacket, belt, pocket or briefcase. Nobody will bat an eye or investigate if you have a paralysis pen.
With Friends Like These... Have an assassination objective? Frame your target, offer them your services as a lawyer, and act completely incompetent, "accidentally" incriminating your client and proving the prosecution's points. If you do an exceptional job, your target may end up with the death penalty, but even if that doesn't work, getting them brigged gives you an opportunity to take them out.
Passing the Bar
Congratulations on completion of your coursework! Make old Will proud!
Guide was written by Flatoftheblade on the Yogstation forums. William Severight's Law School