William Maselli: Embracing the Fundamentals of Law

Episode Synopsis: An opera aficionado and legal history fanatic, William Maselli goes into each trial with the same care and passion as an artist. In this episode, the Maine-based criminal defense attorney breaks down broad legal principles and how these fundamentals can help shape the work you do in the courtroom. He also dives into the importance of collaboration and what his work as a composer has taught him about the practice of law.

Podcast Transcript: The following is a transcript of Episode 17 of The Advocate’s Key podcast hosted by attorney Scott Key. Other episodes can be found at Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcast, and Spotify.

William: You know, I’d constantly got good deals because they knew I was gonna go to trial. And not only am I going to go to trial, but if I don’t win, I’m going to have laid down a lot of good legal issues, if there’s any to be had, they’re going to be preserved. And then I’m going to fight the case on appeal, and then you get some of those back. And when people know that they’re going to be working on this case for the next two or three years, it definitely helps to resolve the case.

Scott: William Maselli, an absolute character out of a really good legal thriller. I really enjoyed sitting down and talking to William Maselli. The first guest I’ve had from the State of Maine, the first composer guest I’ve had, the first guest I’ve had with a background in opera, and the first guest to discuss Gustaf Mahler. And in the clip, you just heard, when Maselli talks about how to get really good deals, to resolve cases as well as can be in pleas, you have to be prepared to go to trial, you have to work the case as if it is going to trial, even if it’s not.

William Maselli is the second guest that has told me that that is the key to good trial preparation. And I think it’s a lesson not only for the criminal practitioner but for the civil practitioner as well. You’ll learn that I didn’t really know William Maselli that well before sitting down to interview him for this podcast. I saw his office while on vacation in Maine last September and I just had to know more. So I give you, without further ado, the very cool William Maselli. William Maselli, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast.

William: It’s a pleasure to be here, Scott. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Scott: Okay, so I’m going to tell the listeners how I have Mr. Maselli as a guest, as I’ll tell you as well, though, I think you know. I was on vacation in Maine in September. And I was eating at a place I think it was called Jay’s Oyster on the pier in Portland, Maine. And I look up from my beer and oysters and I see the coolest law office I’ve ever seen. And that’s William Maselli’s law office. Kind of, it’s out on a pier in Portland, Maine, right next to the water, right next to a bunch of boats and yachts. And I just did a little dive into Google and found out that he was a criminal defense attorney doing a lot of Federal practice. And I immediately tweeted, and we started up a conversation and now I have you on the podcast. So I really appreciate you doing this.

William: Well, Scott, it’s a pleasure. And thanks for noticing my office. It’s a great spot. It’s really like a boat because even though it’s on the pier, you’re feeling all of the movement of the ocean. So when you’re in there, you’re kind of rocking around a little bit, which makes it challenging to hang paintings as well as to keep the rug in one place because everything is shifting around. But yeah, I can see Jay’s Oyster Bar right outside by my windows. And it’s always calling me over there thinking about having some lobster scampi and some good Maine draft beers.

Scott: I was drinking a Maine draft beer at the time. I jokingly tweeted, and of course, this is still my audition to try to start your appellate division there in your law office in Portland.

William: That’s pretty funny. But no, that’s an interesting idea. I don’t actually remember the details of what you mentioned, but it seemed like it was a little bit challenging to pull it off. But who knows?

Scott: It involved me only practicing in Maine between the months of May and October.

William: I see. Coming up and doing appellate work. Well, you know, that’s something that we can discuss, for sure.

Scott: Absolutely.

William: I’ve got a gentleman, Attorney Stuart Tisdale [SP], sitting in the back office there with a beautiful view who’s really just doing research and appellate work. So you have an interesting calling [crosstalk 00:04:26].

Scott: He can be my mentor. I can come and apprentice with him then.

William: Well, he’s also a musician. So you’d have a lot to talk about. And maybe we’ll give you an impromptu concert here.

Scott: Well, so tell me a little bit about your practice. And where…in fact, you’re not in Portland today. We talked a minute ago. Tell the listeners where you are today and a little bit about the weather around you as we talk.

William: Yes, I’m way up in God’s country as I was just describing it. And it’s on the road to Moosehead Lake in Maine and Mount Katahdin, where you were visiting last fall. And that’s beautiful territory up here. But unfortunately, it was 25 degrees below zero last night. And it’s been well below zero for a couple of weeks, since Christmas Eve. So we’ve been…I mean, it’s been up a few times. But so we’ve been dealing with that reality, which is a little bit different than Portland. But, you know, I’ve been down in Portland. I come down a couple of days a week and see what’s going on there on the pier. And, you know, the weather is not quite as extreme, but Maine is a different life than Atlanta, Georgia, Scott.

Scott: Oh, absolutely. So, tell me a little bit about your practice. I know you do criminal defense. And I see from looking at your LinkedIn…and we’ll talk about the composing and the musician piece in a little bit. And from your website, it looks like you do a good bit of Federal practice in Maine.

William: Yeah, I’ve been practicing criminal and constitutional law since 1988. So I’m going on, what, 32 years, 33 years or so. And I’ve been specializing in criminal defense the entire time. I worked for the various DA’s offices while I was in law school and did three jury trials and a couple of arguments at the Maine Supreme Court while I was still a student. So I hit the ground running as a solo practitioner and I’ve been trying cases ever since. Until this great slowdown of 2020, when things kind of came to a grinding halt. And we’ve had so kind of reimagine the practice of law up here quite a bit.

Scott: How have lawyers in Maine been dealing with the slowdown and the halt?

William: Well, it was very challenging at first until people got into the swing of, you know, keeping the system moving. But everything has moved to video and telephone. So, you know, 90% video. We’ve had a few months where we had quite a bit of in-court work, which, you know, I like both of those types of situations, the Zoom and in-person. I prefer in-person, but Zoom certainly does revolutionize the practice of law, where you can pop in and out of various proceedings in various locations. And, you know, it’s really revolutionary. And I think a lot of this Zoom practice is going to keep on going even after the pandemic.

Scott: Well, I really like it for routine calendars, entries of pleas, announcements. When you get into hearings that require any sort of…you know, I think the more evidentiary intensive court becomes, the more in-person…I think if I’m going to cross-examine a witness, I want that to be in-person, for the most part.

William: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, well, we’re talking about routine proceedings. And I’ve got a challenging situation right now, where the state has just filed a motion to force people to wear masks the entire trial, which is scheduled for two weeks from now. And it’s a quite a serious case where a woman is facing quite a bit of prison time if she were convicted, and who would testify in her trial. And so wearing a mask for her the whole time, as well as myself, I believe is a fundamental violation of constitutional rights. And so we’re going to be challenging that. But, you know, first, we’re going to be moving to just continue the case. And that may be what happens. So it may be a crisis that doesn’t need to occur. You know, so I’m totally in touch with you there. When you’re cross-examining a witness in a critical situation, you want to be live and in-person not on Zoom.

Scott: And it probably has a serious confrontation clause in implications to be in that situation at a trial.

William: Absolutely. But, you know, also, just two years ago, the only people who saw wearing masks were criminals. So somebody, you know, if they had a hat and mask, you knew they were robbing a store, robbing a bank, or doing something nefarious. So, you know, even though people are somewhat conditioned now to see people in masks, still, if it’s a jury sitting over there, even though they’re wearing masks they’re looking at that poor defendant sitting there at the table, and the lawyer and the defendant are both masked up, that’s a chilling scene, really.

Scott: Yeah. I mean, it makes…it sort of paints your client as an outlaw.

William: Yeah, absolutely. So, and, you know, in order for people to gauge credibility, you have to be able to see the expressions on the face and you’ve got to be able to clearly hear the voice. It can’t be this situation of being masked up.

Scott: Right. Well, so tell me a little bit more about your practice. I’ve seen your wonderful office in Portland. Do you…and I know that you’re pretty…you’re more north in Maine today as we’re talking. Do you just have a house there? Do you have offices throughout Maine?

William: Yeah, I’ve moved up here with my family and we’re right across actually from the courthouse in Dover-Foxcroft. So that’s the seat of Piscataquis County. A very beautiful area. And so I’ve got an office here. I’m contemplating opening an office in a northern city called Bangor, which is where I’m getting quite a bit of work right now. It’s 40, 50 minutes away. And but my practice is really statewide and it’s still in Portland, largely, and in the Federal Court in both Bangor and Portland.

I’m specializing in any type of criminal matter from, you know, operating under the influence and domestic assaults, up into major drug conspiracies, and manslaughter, murder cases, and drug trafficking and sex offenses. So you name it. I’ve been doing it.

Scott: And I think you said a minute ago but tell me again, how long have you been practicing law?

William: Almost 34 years now, I guess it is. Thirty-four years in October.

Scott: So having read up on you a little bit, I know that you’re a musician and a composer. Is that something that you still do? And is that something that you studied before you went to law school?

William: Well, I’m largely self-taught as a musician and a composer. But I did study at the Berklee School of Music for two and a half years after undergraduate and before I went to law school. So that was in between. But I always had the plan to go to law school at 30. And that’s what I wound up doing. But I’ve continued to pursue musical projects and have recorded two operas and an oratorio, John F. Kennedy Requiem, dozens of songs, classical songs, and produced concerts in Carnegie Hall in New York City. And at Merkin Hall as well. So I’ve been pretty active in the music business, but it comes and goes. It depends on, you know, what I’m feeling at the moment.

And right now, the music business has really taken a dark turn. And so there’s so much politics in the opera business right now, in the classical music business. It’s all of this inclusion and wokeness and vaccine mandates and mask-wearing and it’s about everything except the music and the drama. So, you know, the whole industry is generating unnecessary dramas in all directions, and it’s taking away from the integrity of the art.

Scott: And are you speaking of various COVID-related mandates that are making it difficult for live performances? Or is there more to it than that even?

William: Oh, yeah, much more to it than that. It’s the politicization of the entire industry where it’s just a lot of racial and gender and other types of considerations that have nothing to do with music but are embroiling the entire industry. But, you know, with the COVID thing, never knowing whether or not performances are going to happen and so many cancellations and the vaccine mandates to be an audience member plus wearing masks, you want to have an art that is embracing people to come in, not driving people away. And that’s what’s happening right now.

Scott: I think it’s hard enough to keep and maintain an audience in classical music and opera anyway, except for, you know, the rare aficionados at this point. So I would imagine mask mandates and things like that, and politicization would make it even tougher.

William: Yeah, it makes it tougher. I mean, granted, a lot of the people that are interested in opera in the first place, classical music are going to be leading towards support of vaccine mandates and mask mandates. But still, when you’re struggling for an audience if you take off 10% to 15% of that just off the top… I mean, in the average society, it’s 50% or more. But let’s say in that business, it’s 10% or 15%, it’s still significant, but it’s also just the lack of human feeling. Because you go into art to make that human connection, to make that spiritual connection. And these are just all barriers that are in the place of that.

Scott: Were you interested in music growing up? Were you a musician before you went to high school? When did you develop an interest in music?

William: Yeah, I became like millions of other people, a fanatic of The Beatles when I was eight years old in 1964. And so that carried me. And I became, you know, a rock and roll guitar player from the age of 11. Or I even started I think at 10. So but I was playing in rock bands at the age of 11. And that was my life. I didn’t have any classical music background at all until after university and when I went to Berklee School of Music, which was exclusively a jazz school at that time. But I branched out into the classical community and became a devotee of opera. And, you know, Wagner, Mahler, Beethoven.

Scott: Just as an aside since you mentioned the Beatles, have you seen the Peter Jackson documentary yet?

William: Absolutely. Every minute of it.

Scott: What did you think?

William: Oh, fantastic. It was like a dream come true to be able to see all that.

Scott: I couldn’t believe the quality of the video.

William: Exactly. Exactly.

Scott: So did you grow up in Maine or do you…

William: No. Well, I was born in the Greater New York City area. And my mother was born and raised in New York City, and both of her parents were. And my family lived there until I was six years old when we moved to Chelmsford, Massachusetts, which is a suburb of Boston. And that’s where I happily grew up until 17 when I took and moved to El Paso, Texas for my first year of university. And then moved to New York City and went to the New School of Social Research. And then moved to Boston, where I stayed five or six years finishing up my undergraduate degree at Northeastern University.

And then, after a year of kind of just hanging out, started school at Berklee. That was the big time when I was deciding between law school and a music career. And I actually chose to pursue music at that time and put law on the backburner. But I knew I’d most likely get there eventually.

Scott: Okay, so I have to ask you. So an interest in law and an interest in music or particularly opera, that doesn’t seem to go together. Tell me a little bit more about your interest in those two fields.

William: I guess what I was attracted to what the law besides, you know, the great Constitutional principles that have been argued about, well, for the last many centuries if you include the English law, but for the last two centuries-plus in American law, the real draw for me in terms of having a career in it was the dramatic element of the courtroom. And “Judd for the Defense” was my favorite show growing up and there was other legal shows that I got into. So it was, you know, the dramatic part.

That’s been a big part of what attracted me in terms of the musical career and opera, it’s the drama aspect. So, but I mean, that only covers a part of it, because, you know, music as an art is very spiritual. And I think there’s actually spiritual elements in the law as well. So I mean, and especially when you’re trying to connect with people, connect with juries, connect with the jurists in your writing, there’s a spiritual element there as well. And certainly, a creative element.

Scott: And what do you mean by a spiritual element?

William: Just where you’re rising above the facts of a certain case and you’re connecting to more embracing principles, more all-embracing principles. And that’s, you know…and in dealing with juries, you’re making, you can call it an emotional, you can call it spiritual, it’s been many things. I mean, I had a great deal of success in my early career with juries. And it was often a very spiritual connection that you could feel that resulted in getting certain verdicts going your way.

Scott: For new lawyers that don’t understand that, you know, if you were going to speak to someone who was just starting a career as a trial attorney and you wanted to sort of impart some wisdom about how to connect better with juries, or how, I suppose, to sort of develop the ability to connect with juries at that level, what would you tell them and what does that entail?

William: Well, really, you’ve got to master the fundamentals, initially. Because, you know, going in with the emotional aspect without being fully prepared isn’t going to work. So you’ve got to have your fundamentals of cross-examination down, you’ve got to be able to really understand what the issues are in the case and how to get in the evidence that you want to get in and how to keep out the evidence that you want out. You’ve got to be a master of the procedural at first. But, you know, and then you can have success just at that, just to be a master of the procedural aspects.

Scott: Because so few people are, really.

William: Well, that’s right. And less than less, because even before the pandemic, there was so many fewer trials. And so this has just exacerbated that entire situation. Who knows where it’s leading to? But, you know, I think that reaching toward the kind of subjects you were just asking me about, it’s, do you care? Really, do you have any emotion that you care? Do you care about that client? Do you care about the process? Do you have an emotional connection with your work? So that’s going to bring you 90% of the way.

And then the last 10% is just something where, you know, it’s called creating magic, I would say, and, you know, that comes when it comes, but if you’re open to it. You know, because people’s lives are at stake in some very, very fascinating circumstances sometimes. And, you know, jurors are relating. Sometimes you’ve got, you know, some middle-aged man in the jury relating to a young woman that they can see as their own daughter and thinking of the abuses that they’ve gone through and the circumstances that have brought them to the situation. And for them to make that connection, that compassion, that emotional connection, that does raise to the level of spiritual connection at times.

And as well as when you’re addressing the jury. You know, that’s what separates a great artist in the field from someone who’s going through the motions.

Scott: You know, and that’s interesting, too. And I think that’s something that we naturally think about when we talk about connecting with the jury. But, you know, you mentioned that also in terms of how you connect with judges and how you write legal briefs. Could you say a little bit more about that and what it is you do in that area?

William: Yeah, and that’s, of course, gonna be a lot less on the emotional. You know, the great jurist is, you know, so highly intellectual, and trained in such a way, such so extensively to really reach conclusions based upon legal principles and established facts and putting those together. But, you know, when you’re moving from the facts or the specific facts of your case, into broader legal principles that the judges can recognize that, yeah, it doesn’t really matter so much about this case, this is a small case or it might seem clear at some levels, but there’s a broader principle here, you know, that affects all of our freedom, all of our liberties, all of our Constitutional rights.

And then to see it in that context, not just to say it, but somehow get it across that you’re really dealing with vital and critical issues, fundamental principles. And that’s, I guess, more of what I meant in terms of connecting at a higher level with judges.

Scott: And when you are at Berklee School of Music, is that in Boston?

William: That’s in Boston, yes.

Scott: And so what were your studies like there? Were you training on a particular instrument? Or were you more into the composing piece when you were at Berklee?

William: Yeah, I was much more to the composing piece. So you had to have an instrument. So mine was voice because I’m someone who likes to sing and I’ve done a lot of recordings actually singing. But as a classical artist, no. Although it would have been nice but didn’t really have that level of talent to go into the classical field as a classical singer. So but I was a few years older than most of the students coming in were 17 to 18 and I was 22 because I just graduated from…I might have even been 23, actually. So I was a bit older than the students and it was a little bit of an unusual situation.

And then I was into, you know, swing jazz, like, you know, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra and, you know, Louie Armstrong. And so I wasn’t really into the modern jazz that was happening. And then I got into the classical music, which, you know, I became a fanatic. I was going to Tanglewood. I was going to the Met Opera in New York. I was going to the Boston Symphony every week. I was hearing student performances. I was really soaking it up. I was somebody like if you know anything about Wagner and his last offer Parsifal, it means the pure fool. The person that basically is a blank slate, he doesn’t know anything. And that that was me in the classical world. And actually, I remained that way for many years even after I was traveling the globe hearing opera performances and became friends with a lot of the top opera performers in the world. I was still this Parsifal figure because I didn’t grow up in that. Yeah, and so I was constantly learning and just kind of riding the wave.

Scott: Is that similar to sort of the Zen concept of the beginner’s mind? Just to know you’re an absolute beginner, it opens that whole world of possibilities.

William: I would say that’s similar, yes, yes.

Scott: And did that also cross it into law? I mean, the notion of, did you soak that all up as well? Or was opera something different?

William: Yeah, opera was totally different. Because on the legal side, I was paying attention early on. And, you know, and then I studied Constitutional law even in undergraduate college. And I was always totally into politics when I was in high school and in college. So I was, you know, reading the “New York Times” every day and paying very close attention to what was going on. So to me, that’s all connected with the law. Politics and the law is one area. And I was very connected with that.

The only similarity I had of what we were just talking about is that I didn’t go to law school until I was 30. So I wasn’t a lawyer until I was 33. And so here I was just kind of figuring out my place in the courtroom, and, you know, very young in the law but I was in lawyers’ middle-age. So that was a little bit of a similarity.

Scott: Were you a full-time musician for those years between Berklee School of Music and law school?

William: No, I was doing a lot of recording. But I was funding that by being a teacher. I met a woman while I was in Berklee, and we connected up and we wound up getting married a little bit down the road. But she was a teacher, and I wound up getting into that field a bit. And actually, taught at some private schools, taught at a Catholic school. Did a bunch of teaching work before I went to law school.

Scott: And were you teaching music or something else?

William: No, in the private school, I was teaching English and philosophy, was teaching all the grades in fifth grade at a Catholic school, because, you know, in the fifth grade, the teacher teaches all subjects. So it was interesting. And then I did some work with disturbed children and took…my last job was in a group home with troubled adolescents. And that wasn’t exactly teaching, but I had a teaching job on the side at the same time. So I had a lot of different teaching types of experiences.

Scott: And what led…I know you spoke a minute ago about enjoying the drama of the law. But what was it that led you to go to law school at the age of 30?

William: Well, I was really agonizing when I was 21 as to go right to law school. I mean, I had the applications for some schools in Virginia, the University of Virginia, and Washington and Lee. And those were the two that I was kind of focused on. But I was really deciding whether to go. To me, it was a life-altering decision, I thought at the time. Because at that time, if you wanted to go into politics, you couldn’t have anything to do with the arts. There was just…and you couldn’t have anything to do with a loose living lifestyle. So you were gonna go one way or another.

Now, that all changed with Ronald Reagan, who became, you know, the first divorced president. Before that, that was unthinkable. And then, and, you know, that he had been divorced much earlier than that. And he was an actor. So that changed things. And then Bill Clinton came along playing the saxophone and everything started changing. And, you know, the mold was broken. So it didn’t turn out to be as momentous a decision as I thought it was. But I made the choice for music. But in the back of my mind was, if it doesn’t really bring the type of material success that I was expecting, frankly, then I would go to law school at 30 and it wouldn’t be much of a change of enthusiasm. Because I really was torn between law and music from the beginning. So it was something I went into. You know, I judged my life. I thought I judged it relatively cautiously and just decided to go into this other field that I loved also.

Scott: And if I’m hearing you right and I may be wrong, but it sounds like you saw the law as a jumping-off point to politics and not maybe as an end in itself.

William: Both, both.

Scott: Okay.

William: But it was definitely a jumping-off point for politics. And then I had another one of these moments, you know, five years later when I knew I needed to run for district attorney if I was going to adequately progress on this political path. And I just decided that still, it was too much of a lifestyle thing. I mean, I wasn’t…in the law, it was easy just to toe the line and kind of keep to the straight and narrow. But on the artistic side, I had just started really getting back into the artistic side thanks to reading the autobiography of Richard Wagner. I just knew I didn’t want to just live by all the rules of society. And again, things have loosened up since even that time. But…

Scott: Well, what was it about Wagner that drew you back in? I know very little about Wagner. What was it about his life?

William: Well, you know, he’s a commanding genius. He’s possibly the greatest genius the human race has ever produced. And, you know, the poetry, the stories, and the music and putting it all together, it just creates an art form that is unique unto itself. I don’t know. You know, I think certain things grab you. But for me, it’s always been I’ve been attracted to the best in any direction. So when I was a kid growing up, and I was into pop music and a rock and roller, The Beatles were my y thing. And later, it was Beethoven and Mahler and ultimately, Wagner that really captured me.

But it’s hard to really say. And again, it’s a very spiritual thing. I’m a spiritual person as an artist, and a lot of things in life are very spiritual. Who talks to you, you know, what resonates in your soul and your blood and your genes? And that’s what drew me to Wagner.

Scott: Well, who are some of the greats in law? You know, you said that you’re drawn to the best and Wagner is the greatest. So I would really have kind of two questions to jump off from that. Who are the, if there is…this may be a little trite to say. But who are the Wagners of the law? Who do you think are the best? And what do you think, is there anything about Wagner that would…you know, that sort of informs and sort of shapes how you practice law?

William: Well, the second answer, the second question more quickly, no. I would say there’s no relation of Wagner and the law. Definitely, Wagner is taking you one way. And practicing law is taking you to another. And even the principles of law, there’s… I mean, I might want to think about that for, you know, a couple of weeks and see if I could come up with some connections, because, you know, I’m sure that you could. But I’m not aware of any.

But, you know, Marshall is the great genius of the law, John Marshall, and I’ve got his biography of George Washington, which I’ve read quite a bit of. And embarrassed to say I haven’t finished it and I think I read the Virginia Debates of the Constitution. I think Marshall was in that. But I’ve got some biographies of his. And of course, I’ve read all of his decisions. And, you know, it’s not just Marshall, because you’ve got you got Madison and Jefferson. You’ve got such towering intellects in the legal field.

I mean, Jefferson is writing legal documents that have never been surpassed. And, you know, he’s one of my ultimate heroes is Jefferson. And then Marshall. And you’ve got Oliver Wendell Holmes I was always drawn to. And of the modern people, I don’t know, I guess I should say something about Justice Breyer, who’s just announced his plan to retire yesterday. I’m actually very sorry to see him go. And I think it’s a shame that he’s being kind of driven out. Because, you know, I’m not saying I agree with all of his decisions. He’s much more of someone who’s in the position of, well, if the Congress says that’s what we’re doing, then that’s fine.

You know, I’m more into maybe a little bit of a different philosophy. But I always believed in the integrity of Justice Breyer. I had an oral argument with him at the First Circuit Court of Appeals before he was nominated even for the first time and that resulted in a partial victory. I had the case sent back for resentencing. It helped out the client quite a bit. But so that was my first experience with Justice Breyer. And I’ve honestly followed his career very carefully. And he’s a…I would call him a great spirit in the law. So that would be a modern example that I would bring up.

Scott: Well, and you’ve put some Southerners in that list. So that’s really [inaudible 00:35:14] to hear as well.

William: Well, absolutely. I mean, Madison, Jefferson, and Marshall, I mean, that’s… And of course, Jefferson and Marshall were butting heads. They weren’t politically the same, but they were Titans. And that’s what this country needs right now is some Titans. Men or women, black or white, or any color, any persuasion, just people that rise above the pettiness of the moment and can understand the principles that are critical in this world and have enough practicality to be able to communicate with the population.

Scott: Well, I don’t know what the trend is in Maine. But I know certainly in Georgia, there are fewer and fewer legislators here who are lawyers or with a legal background. And I think it certainly is hurting things a bit. Is that a trend also in Maine?

William: I’m sorry that I never paid any attention to that particular subject. No, I haven’t. I don’t really know the answer to that in Maine.

Scott: So going back, so when you came out of law school, did I hear you right that you started off as a prosecutor?

William: No, only while I was in law school. There really wasn’t a position available for me anywhere. I wanted to be a prosecutor. That’s what’s kind of ironic because once I realized there wasn’t going to be a job for me upon graduation, and I had to start contemplating what I was going to do, as I got my head into the defense aspect, it would have been very, very difficult to have changed that. I mean, really.

Scott: And did you go to law school in Maine?

William: I did, the University of Maine. Yeah, it was a great school. And I was very inspired by the professors, some of whom have passed on, unfortunately. But one of them, my property professor, I think he knew what struggles I was going through when I was getting ready to open my office. And he took me into his office, and he said, “You know, Thomas Jefferson, when he started out as a lawyer, he was riding the circuit, you know, all on his own.” And that actually gave me quite a bit of a boost of enthusiasm or confidence, which I appreciated.

Scott: Now, knowing the little bit that I know about the layout of Maine, I mean, did it feel like you were riding the circuit as a sole practitioner out there out of law school?

William: I was absolutely riding the circuit. I had a little red car and I was going from a place in the middle of nowhere, which is Andover, Maine, which is where I lived in the mountains. I was in a cabin without electricity. I did have a generator that worked sometimes and without really nice indoor plumbing, and just really living a basic back-to-nature life. And I had a little office in my town and I just got on the court-appointed list for serious criminal cases all around the state.

But I was driving, you know, an hour and a half to Augusta. I was driving an hour to Farmington. I was driving two hours to Portland. I was driving an hour and a half to Auburn, Lewiston, Auburn. I was going to South Paris. I was going to Rumford. I had Federal cases in Bangor and in Portland. So I was just traveling across. I was on the circuit. And it took me a while to focus in on a few towns. But really, for many years, I just was going from court to court to court. And it was a wonderful experience. I knew all the judges. I knew all the prosecutors. I knew all the defense lawyers.

And it was a social time. So this is what has happened to the practice of law. There’s no social time anymore. I mean, even leaving COVID out. I mean COVID, it’s hopefully something that’s gonna pass but it had already changed because of security because of 9/11. And because of God knows, you know, paranoia, and just closing humanity, a closing sense of humanity. I mean, I used to go back, and just drift into the judges’ offices and talk to them, you know, back in chambers. And all of a sudden, everything was locked off, you know, and you couldn’t even get to the areas of the building where you used to go. It’s like, “What do you want?” You know, it’s like, “Okay, so this is how it is now.” I feel sorry for the young lawyers who never even knew what it was like to just be able to have human relationships with judges and, you know, even the famous judges.

Scott: It sounds there was a lot of time to contemplate things in those drives from court.

William: Yeah, well, you know, for better or worse, I became a master of dictation on my little machine. And, you know, I had quite a nice office humming back then. And I had my full tape. I dropped it off on my secretary’s desk as I grabbed my files for the 8:30 court. And, you know, when I came back, I had four or five fairly comprehensive letters heading out, motions or letters. So I don’t do that anymore.

Scott: So that’s interesting. So you were…okay. So managing a law office in that setting, you’re in the car like going from, you know, place to place. It sounds like you’re doing a lot…and I’m guessing. I’m trying to situate the time. I know you said, you’ve been practicing for 35 years. I’m assuming this is…

William: Yes, we’re talking 1989.

Scott: So this is, like, cellphones are starting up.

William: No cellphones, yeah.

Scott: No cellphones.

William: I didn’t have any for quite some time.

Scott: And so you’ve got a little Dictaphone, and you have files, and you’re spending that time, just you’re dictating letters and briefs and memos and things like that?

William: Right, more standard motions and letters. And, yeah. But I was writing letters all the time, you know. There was always critical cases that clients needed to decide what to do. And you really have to have all that in writing for them to look at it. Plus, to create a history if these things were discussed. So there was always things that needed to be dealt with. But so I was… Yeah, I forgot the exact question.

Scott: I think I was talking about the time for contemplation and work.

William: Oh, right. And I did have a lot of time for contemplation. But I would also say that I drove myself to exhaustion back then. And I often, even in very cold weather, in Maine, freezing weather, driving home in the dark at 4:00 or 5:00. I had to pull over to the side of the road and sleep for 10 minutes because I was just so tired. So, you know, the end of the day was different. And I knew that most of those nights, I had to work. I mean, I worked every night almost. I was a fanatic into law. I wanted to be the best at what I was doing. And I was willing to pay the price.

Scott: So you get out on the road. You drop your Dictaphone, your tape from yesterday with your secretary, and you’re out on the road going to calendars. And then at night, you’re back in your office working?

William: Well after the first year of my office in the small town, I was kind of describing what it was like later because I centered my office in Auburn, which is an hour and a half drive. So on my morning drive to the office, that’s when I did a lot of dictation. And then I reached the central office. And usually, my court cases were there. But if they were somewhere else, I dropped off the tape later on. I would just drive directly to those courts from my home in Andover.

Scott: And when did you end up opening this beautiful office in Portland that I like so much?

William: Yeah, that was four years ago in October or November. I was there kind of in the middle of October. So it’s been four years. It was…interestingly enough. And so it’s good that you keep bringing up this office. And that’s how we met because this office is a classic. It’s not for everybody, you know. It’s only got a little bit of space inside. You can’t have a really big operation going and you get flooded out. This is something that you didn’t get to experience. You get flooded out once or twice a month by the high tides. You cannot get in or out. So if you’re already in, you can’t get out. And if you’re not in, you can’t get in. So that’s really an idiosyncrasy of the place.

But it was, for the last 10 or 20 years, I don’t know what date he moved in, but the preeminent criminal trial lawyer in the state of Maine, Dan Lilley, had that office. And he was a character like out of, you know, you could write novels about Dan Lilley. And you can talk to some of his friends about him. He’s something else. But I admired him as a defense lawyer. I watched a number of his trials when I was young and learned quite a bit. And, you know, he was someone that I emulated.

So to wind…and he died five years ago. And I was in a different office situation. And I just happened to be looking on the internet one day to see what was around and I saw his office for lease. I thought, oh, my God, that would be something else. And like everything else…well like many things that happen when they’re destined for you, things just fall into place. That’s exactly what happened with this house up here in Dover-Foxcroft. I have a home office and that’s exactly what happened with Dan Lilley’s office. Things just fell into place. It was no problem, just do it. And so I moved in there and I’ve been very, very happy ever since.

Scott: And what’s your practice mainly consists of? Are you mainly in Federal Court now? Or are you a mix?

William: No, it’s a mix. Just because, you know, for certain times, I’ve had, you know, 80% of my work that I have to do is all Federal. Because it’s just so time-intensive, some of these cases, and the briefing. And I did two trials in the Federal Court jury trials, one of them quite lengthy, just before corona hit. So those were quite lucrative for me actually, to be able to bill those afterward, when everything else was also shut down. Thanks to the Federal Courts for being so generous in saying, “Hey, you can bill these cases even though they’re not finished.” That was something that was driven to help attorneys. It didn’t help anybody more than me, because the timing was just perfect.

But anyway, right now, I’m just getting a lot of cases in State Court because I was going to take a few here in this small town, Dover-Foxcroft, and I was talking to the Superior Court judge. I only had one case, really, at that time. It was just a couple of months ago. And he said, you know, “They’re in a crisis in Bangor. They don’t have enough lawyers. Nobody knows what to do. And you know, you should think about getting on the list.” So I thought about it, and I did it. And suddenly, I’m being deluged with cases, quite serious ones, many people in jail on quite serious charges. And it’s really been like a kickstart to getting me going, again, because I was in quite a kind of a placid routine of managing my smaller caseload and just dealing with, you know, more lucrative retained cases.

I wasn’t even on an appointed list other than in the Federal Court. So it’s quite a change right now. And I’m kind of trying to deal with this new reality at the moment. And hopefully, it gets me into court. Because as I was saying, there’s not enough trials.

Scott: There aren’t, no.

William: Yeah. And when you take some of these guys that, you know, may have been around the block a few times, and they’re angry about being charged with what they’re charged with. and they say, “I’m going to trial. I don’t care if I’m going to lose.” You know, most of the cases, more that you wind up in trial, not the ones that that…

Scott: That should be tried.

William: Yeah, exactly. Because they get a deal on those and a deal too good to pass up. You do deal with some prosecutors that don’t give that deal and you wind up trying those cases, but that’s good because you win those. But, you know, to win these cases that are, you know, 95% against you to start out, it’s quite a challenge. And you’ve got to be prepared to lose those. But the only way you can win is to get in there. And then, you know, the win might be an appeal.

Scott: Right. As often they are, right.

William: Yeah. And I still love doing appellate work. I don’t do it as much as I used to. I was never one of these appellate lawyers that really kind of laid everything out with, you know, 50, 60, 70 cases, and, you know, just pages after pages of analyzing other cases, I just kind of tried to get to the basic principle, the issue. And then I put two or three cases out there, without even analyzing those cases too much, and saying, “These cases follow this principle.” And, you know, that works pretty well for me. Although I think a lot of the appellate judges would prefer to have this big exposition of the law but everybody knows the law.

You know, appellate work is a lot of repeating what everybody knows, you know, and it’s like, okay, you can go through that because people want it.

Scott: Why is there a shortage or why is there an issue where there are more cases than lawyers in Bangor? What’s…are people not wanting to do criminal defense anymore?

William: Yeah, well, Maine is very unique in the fact that it doesn’t have a public defender. So from what I know, it’s the only state that doesn’t have a public defender. And I’m all in favor of that because that’s how I got started. And I think that that’s great because it gives young lawyers the opportunity to get right in there. And I tried cases, everybody else that started when I did, basically had to try cases or get out of that field. But now, it’s quite a bit different. And there’s been a lot of negativity around the whole court-appointed process because certain people have been fighting for the public defender system to be instituted and other people are fighting against it.

And then they made this commission 10 or 12 years ago, to kind of oversee it all and that was running quite well, in my own opinion. I wasn’t even on the list for most of those years. So I didn’t have much to judge it by. But the times I was on it, it worked really well. And it was just set up well. But then also this kind of negativity started then on that, and the director was kind of forced out. And new people coming in and a lot of kind of enforcement of things that are kind of bureaucratic rules. Because, you know, other people are saying, well, they’re not getting adequate defense because these people are not qualified.

I don’t know. There’s a lot of negativity. So it’s caused a lot of people to drop out of the system. And Bangor is just a place where I guess, I don’t want to speak without adequate factual basis, but it seems that there’s a lot of crime up here for somewhere that’s a pretty remote city. I know in Lewiston, that’s where I was based in Lewiston and Auburn, Lewiston, I don’t know, it’s a similar-sized city to Bangor. And it’s got a ton of crime. And I think that’s what I’m seeing up here. There’s a lot of crime. There’s a lot of people in jail. There’s a lot of kind of hard-headed types up here that are not going to change their ways.

And so they need a pretty large defense bar. And I think the defense bar has been getting burned out. Because there’s not enough attorneys. So and then, you know, more and more are dropping. So I don’t know how many young people are coming up and really want to start fighting in the courtroom. And right now, there is no fighting in the courtroom. Everybody’s on a computer. And so there’s a real unreality to the whole situation going on.

And I’m just hoping that this pandemic that we’re under becomes much more manageable in the next month so that people can stop really organizing their whole lives around it. Because it’s taken away a lot in a lot of directions. And I know why that is. But I’m just hoping that things settle down enough that we can move beyond it.

Scott: When was your last jury trial? Have you had one since 2020?

William: No, no. I had one in October of ’19. Oh, I have one in 2020. I had it in February of 2020.

Scott: Right before it all started.

William: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So I was just starting to feel warmed up, you know, because when you go a year without a trial, I mean, it’s hard to call yourself a trial lawyer. And they’re doing a few trials around here. And I’ve seen a few good victories by some of my colleagues recently. So that’s always nice to see. But there’s just so few trials that it’s disheartening. And there’s a whole generation of lawyers growing up without trial skills. And so what does that mean? What’s that gonna do?

Scott: Well, I think it creates a situation where the prosecutors are going to run the show. And, you know, I think there’s no greater leverage for a criminal defense attorney than for you to have the reputation as someone who will try a case and will do well in that trial.

William: Absolutely. I mean, and I don’t even know that I have that reputation anymore because most of the people I know, you know, the judges have been retiring. And the young lawyers from different towns, I don’t know how many people know about me or the prosecutors. But, you know, when you’re not in trial all the time, you lose that edge, you lose that factor. And, you know, I constantly got good deals, because they knew I was gonna go to trial. And not only am I going to go to trial, but if I don’t win, I’m going to have laid down a lot of good legal issues. If there’s any to be had, they’re going to be preserved. And then I’m going to fight the case on appeal, or I’m going to get somebody else to.

But normally, I was fighting all of my courtroom defeats on appeal. And then you get some of those back. You know, when people know that they’re going to be working on this case for the next two or three years, it definitely helps to resolve the case. But again, I said that there were certain hardheaded prosecutors, even back then, that they just had a line in the sand. They weren’t going from a felony to a misdemeanor, or they weren’t gonna go no-jail. And that was the client’s bottom line. And so it’s trial.

Scott: And in the height of it, what do you…how did you prepare for trial? You know, if you’re opening a file that you know is going to trial, what are some things that you have just learned to do over the years?

William: Well, the first thing to do is get a PI and I go a lot of cases without getting a PI because I don’t believe they’re going to trial and they don’t, because there’s always time to do it. But if it’s a case that you know is going, then you get a PI. You get witness statements, and you get some different perspectives on the case. And you have good heart-to-heart conversations with your client, make sure you know what they want to do and what their parameters are. And then there’s cases that are going to have sticky legal issues, which most don’t, but a lot of them do.

I mean, there’s always a lot of prejudicial information out the either for or against, and you’re thinking about how you’re going to get it in, or how the state should not be able to get it in. So you’re strategizing out on the evidentiary issues. And of course, then there’s the Constitutional issues on search and seizure and confessions that you’ve gotta always be ready to tackle and those…you know, you win cases on suppression that never see trial. And that’s the end of them.

Scott: So I think you’re the first person I’ve talked to that has said this, and I think it’s such a good and valuable point, the role of a private investigator. Because I think a lot of us attorneys think that we can kind of do it all, that we can do the witness interviews, or, you know, we can do the witness interviews with our paralegal present. And that sort of substitutes for a private investigator. Why do you think a private investigator is valuable for a case?

William: Well, the first thing is, as I alluded to toward the end of what I was saying, was that you get some feedback on how they see the case. You know, it’s like, “Wow, this is a tough witness. Or, you know, that’s not going to go well. You know, or what about kind of this type of strategy?” So just strategizing, it’s important. I mean, if you’ve got a couple of associates working with you that you can assign to the case and have conversations, that might be helpful. But the PI, if you’ve got an experienced PI, he’s probably gonna have a lot more knowledge than a young associate in terms of how the trials actually play out.

It’s also important to note, just one other thing that to go back about preparing is, after you’ve done a lot of trials, you know how it plays out in terms of what evidence can come in and what can’t. And a lot of cases that look really bad on paper, because there’s a lot of kind of background information and a lot of stuff that they know about this guy or gal, as the case may be, it’s never gonna come to the jury. And even though it’s so obvious that the person may be guilty when you’re looking at the paper, you gotta project out, what are they going to get in? How is it going to come in? And what they do get in, is it going to come in as strong as it comes in on this, you know, two sentences from the state trooper’s report? Or is there going to be a lot of weaknesses in there?

So, the PI is invaluable in all of that. And then, I just don’t have time, right? I maybe have the last couple years, but I didn’t have time before to go out looking for witnesses and finding people and talking them into talking to me. A lot of the witnesses are quasi hostile. So, you know, those are not witnesses that you can deal with. I mean, I’ve met lawyers, some very successful lawyers that like to go out and confront those witnesses anyway just so they can say, “Yeah, you refused to talk to me, didn’t you?” And, you know, that’s worth something. But you’d rather get them to say something that might be helpful.

So the PI has some skills, you know, if they’re good, that allows them to kind of connect with people and to make them feel that they can talk to them. And so that’s valuable. And then, you know, the PI is going to be a good witness if you have your paralegal in there. I don’t know about calling a paralegal. I mean, you don’t usually have to call somebody to just straighten it out.

Scott: Right, just for impeachment purposes or something like that, right.

William: Yeah, yeah. I mean, because you ask them, “Didn’t you such and such?” And they usually say, “Yeah, but…” So I mean, you don’t need to call in the person. But if they flatly deny it, “I never said that,” then…you know, I don’t know that I’ve ever really had that happen.

Scott: And do you bring…when you have a private investigator working on a bigger case, is that person seated with you at the counsel table during the trial?

William: Often. In the bigger Federal trials, I used to do that all the time, then I kind of got away from that. Now, that was one of the…I used to enjoy that when I was younger, having an associate at the table, and someone that was really able to help. And then, the PI maybe also. So then I get into a little bit more just doing everything on my own because, you know, your most talented associates often move on and doing other things. And so, it’s not worth it just to have a body sitting there. You want somebody that the jury is going to like and that are going to be helpful to the defense and8 the case at some level.

I mean, I’ve even had an associate whisper something in my ear, you know, just before closing argument or just…yeah, the closing argument in a Federal trial which we won, which it was just the most important thing to make a logical connection to the jury as to why something didn’t make sense, you know? And so that wouldn’t have been said, and would we have won otherwise? Maybe not. So there’s all these little things that go into try and cases. But having support, I mean, that’s the thing. Having a PI, you have some support. And it’s important to have support because you’re out there on your own. The judge is against you 90% of the time or more, the prosecutor obviously is against you 100%, the cops hate you.

Scott: Sometimes your client doesn’t like you so much by the time you get there too.

William: That’s right. And frankly, something I’ve been learning to my regret over the last 10 or 15 years is, you know, the conservative Federal juries, just, they’re in love with the FBI. They love the DEA. They love the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They hate you, you know. And you’re up against such a hurdle, you know. And what I’ve been learning in the last two years is why a lot of my arguments about individual liberty and freedom and Constitutional rights had been falling on deaf ears over the last years, because the people don’t believe in them, as we see with the COVID. They are willing to be told what to do.

People are acting like sheep. People are wandering around out here, there’s three cases a day in the entire county, and no deaths out here in this county. And everybody’s walking around in masks at sporting events. Kids are wearing masks playing basketball, like, you know, or even outdoor sports. But it’s like, people are not willing to stand up for themselves. And so when you’re asking the jury member to stand up for this alleged criminal sitting over there that’s maybe done some horrific things, they’re not interested in the least of standing up. They want to just fall in with the prosecution.

Scott: So you think there may be a long-term link between a future jurors’ willingness to convict our clients and sort of this notion that people are willing or have been conditioned to wear this mask? You think there might be some…that there might be a greater willingness to…well, a less of a willingness to stand up to the government?

William: Absolutely. And it’s not just the mask, it’s everything about what’s been going on with the vaccinations and people being…it’s not just that the government tells you to do it. I mean, okay, that’s one debate. But it’s how the people have responded that are either for or against. I mean, the against this is the rebellious side of things that this country was founded on, and the for is just, like, “Okay, the government’s told us to do it, we’re going to do it. And if you don’t do it, you deserve to die, or you deserve to get sick, or you should be locked into your house.”

I mean, I even had an old friend of mine make a post that people should be in prison. So this was before there was even a debate, it was, like, when the vaccines were first coming out. If you don’t take the vaccine, you should be put in prison until you agree to take it. And there’s so many people that agree with this type of thing. And it’s like, wow, this is like living in Communist China. This is like living under Stalin. It’s like, what’s going on? You know, I don’t even recognize my own fellow citizens any more.

So I’m learning, no wonder why they weren’t responding to me. Because this isn’t just because of COVID. This is something that’s been going on for quite some time. It’s all about the free speech arguments on campus and in the media. If you don’t give the correct answers of what certain people want to hear, you’re excluded, you’re ostracized. And frankly, it’s got me troubled, but, you know, young people, they’re the ones that are gonna inherit this world, and they’re gonna have to figure this out.

Scott: Well, as we go back into…I mean, eventually, we’re gonna have to have jury trials again. I mean, we’re gonna have to have them probably at a greater frequency than we ever have at some point. What do you think we should do as people defending the accused? I mean, in terms of how…you know, we spoke at the beginning of this recording about connecting with jurors, even at a potential spiritual level. What do you think our job is? How do you think we get that done to, you know, connect with jurors in the reality in which we find ourselves?

William: Yeah, no, I don’t think there’s an answer to that. I think that you’ve just got to keep on plugging. You’ve got to keep going. You know, it always was, no matter when you were trying cases, you either got a good jury, you got a beat them jury, you got a bad jury. You know, you could get a bad jury no matter when and where. That’s just the luck of the draw. So you’re still going to get some good juries here and there that might be able to respond to your arguments.

But I guess more fundamentally, is it worth making those types of arguments when people’s minds and emotional connections have moved on from those principles where people don’t care about free speech, people don’t care about search and seizure law, or, you know, police misconduct. People don’t care about the Bill of Rights and the presumption of innocence. You know, I mean, often people didn’t care about some of these things. But you could play on, you know, the deep-seated beliefs and the American principles.

But now, those are eroding, those are going away. So it doesn’t make sense to keep going that way. Maybe you touch on them, but maybe a lot less. Maybe it’s got to be much more the facts of the case.

Scott: It seems like people do care about police misconduct, but not in the right way. And I don’t know if I’m articulating that quite right. But, you know, I’ve, in my practice and currently in my practice, have represented law enforcement officers who have been accused of doing various things in the line of duty. And, you know, my take on that is when a law enforcement officer becomes the accused, then we extend the rights of the accused to that defendant. It doesn’t matter, you know, if he was a law enforcement officer. It seems like there’s a willingness to erode some basic trial rights and some greater interest.

William: Political interest.

Scott: Yeah, it seems like people do care about it, but they don’t care about it quite…in a very nuanced or informed way.

William: Exactly. Well, it goes back to the old adage about, you know, chopping down one tree at a time. You know, you go after this, you go after that. And pretty soon, there’s nothing to protect you. And you’ve got no protections and you’ve got no freedoms at all. And that’s what we’re going through right now. But, you know, ever since I was in college, 20 and 21 years old, I knew that society was going to evolve into this authoritarian sweep of loss of individual rights. And I hadn’t envisioned even the, you know, 10%, 20% of the technology that was going to evolve.

I mean, this is all part of one great organic process, and no one knows where it’s going. Because this whole technological enslavement of humanity, and, you know, COVID is just playing right into it. But, you know, what else could happen? There could be warfare, you know. You’ve got people on cable news right now and people in the Congress screaming to confront Russia, you know, for God knows what reason. But yeah, let’s confront Russia. You know, we’ve got this massive enemy in China that’s basically spreading their influence around the world. And they may be successful, maybe they won’t, maybe we have to fight them. Maybe we don’t.

But right now, they’re trying to engineer a war with Russia. It’s like, a war can happen at any time that just throws all of this into complete chaos because a real war is going to have massive consequence. And people forget. I guess this is just the curse of humanity. You go through these major wars like World War II, and people say, “We’re gonna remember it.” I mean, they even said it after World War I, “We’re gonna remember it, it’s the war to end all wars.” And in 20 years, they’re in war again.

But after World War II, some things shifted, and it felt like, maybe humanity has learned. It’s just like people forget what war is. People forget that you lose everything, that you lose your family, you lose your home, you lose your life. It’s not just the game. You don’t just shoot some missiles into the desert in Afghanistan and kill some people. You know, you’re actually at risk, your whole way of life is at risk. So I don’t think anybody can really predict where all this technology is gonna go because we live on a razor’s edge.

And it’s frightening to see how people don’t believe in Constitutional principles that this country was founded on anymore. And it’s frightening to see how people haven’t learned the lessons and they never have. So why would we believe that they have now? But you hope that they have because it’s just something that you just kind of tried to believe it. And there’s a lot of people that have been in this position, trying to believe that there can be peace and somehow that will contribute to it make it happen. But it’s just…

Scott: I guess we just have to fight a lot harder out here in the trenches.

William: Yeah, I think so. I think so.

Scott: Yeah. Well, listen, I’ve really appreciated you spending this time with me and coming on the podcast. I know we’ve tried to put this together for quite some time and I’m really glad we did it.

William: Well, I’m looking forward to your next visit to Maine because we’re going to have to go to Jay’s or I’ll take you to some other local places that are quite interesting. And also, I think the best place in Portland is on my deck. On my deck with a glass of whiskey and a glass of wine and sun beating on you and watching the boats coming in and out and watching the people walk to the restaurants and a little music in the background, talking maybe some law, maybe some politics, maybe some music. And, you know, I’ve been enjoying that. And frankly, even though I’ve moved, that’s why I kept my office for at least another year because I don’t want to give up that socializing aspect.

Scott: Well, we will definitely. You know, we were on the fence. I think we’re definitely going to come to Maine now when it gets a little warmer.

William: All right, Scott. Well, listen, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to talk about things. You don’t really get an opportunity too often to really think about your views and to give them. And, you know, hopefully, at least a few people have listened to this and found it interesting.

Scott: Well, thank you so much, and stay warm up there.

William: Thank you, Scott. All the best.

Scott: All right, bye-bye.

William: Bye-bye.

Scott: Thanks for listening to The Advocate’s Key. For more information and content like this, including a transcript of this episode, be sure to visit scottkeylaw.com, and please rate, review and follow this show wherever you get your audio content.

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Self-described "recovering attorney" Katheryn Burmeister joins Scott Key for a candid conversation about her journey in law, from starting her own firm to abandoning the status quo in search of happiness and fulfillment.
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Originalist Textualism 101 for Practitioners with Keith Blackwell

Keith Blackwell: Originalist Textualism 101 for Practitioners

Originalist textualism is a way of interpreting the law that can often feel a bit like stepping into a time machine. In this episode, former Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, Keith Blackwell, guides us through originalist methodology and gives important context to the legal debates happening today and in the future. Blackwell breaks down the fundamentals of the practice in a way that can make you a more effective advocate.
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Organizing Your Case For Trail - The Advocate's Key Podcast

Elissa Haynes: Organizing Your Case For Trial

When Elissa Haynes first moved from insurance defense work to trial work, the Atlanta partner knew she’d need a solid framework to build each case. In this episode, Haynes shares how she organizes everything from the discovery stage to the closing statement. She also explains how preparation can lead to an engaging case.
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