Ask The Attorney


 

Ask The Attorney
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Ask The Attorney



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What are Some Good Skills for a Lawyer to Have?


While Kimm didn’t start out wanting to be a lawyer, her interest in criminal law swayed her to go to law school and obtain her law license. Kimm owns her own law practice and handles many types of law-related issues including family, criminal, civil and estate law, which at times, requires her to shift gears quickly which she excels at.


“I always kind of joke and say that a lawyer has to have ADD (attention deficit disorder) because it is kind of true. You have to be able to jump from one task to another quickly and keep your mind straight.”

However it is not just being able to move from one task to the other that helps with practicing law, it is also about being able to keep each case separate. Kimm states that being detail oriented and having good interpersonal skills are also important skills to have, especially when dealing with family and criminal law clients.


“Being able to get along with people. That is usually the hardest part of our job - dealing with people and getting along with people. Especially in some of their worst days. When you are dealing with the criminals or the family law clients, emotions are very high. A lot of being an attorney is being a counselor too.”

What Does a Good Day on the Job Look Like?


Along with being able to jump from task to task, attorneys also have drastically different days which requires them to be flexible. Kimm’s days are never the same due to cases she is representing, people she meets with and, of course, the unexpected matter that comes up. So “good days” can look different depending on the day.


“Usually I joke and say a good day would be at the pool and not here! Normally my days are so different. Mondays I would be in court all morning and then again in the afternoon, Tuesdays I might just be in my office all day. It just depends on the day and the people you are dealing with.” But no two days look the same is also what Kimm likes about being an attorney. “It is never the same, which is kind of what I like about the job. That makes for variety.”

Laws are Changing All the Time. How Do You Stay Up-to-Date and Current?

As with most professions, attorneys need to constantly stay educated on the most current legislation. Kimm is asked how she is able to stay on top of all the changing laws, for example, the expungement laws that have recently changed.


“A lot of times the State Bar offers training classes, different continuing education programs on these different changes.”

However, she added that the State of Michigan does not require people to have continuing education.


“But the criminal division of the State of Michigan does require us to have 12 hours [of continuing education] each year.”

While it is not required, Kimm said it is best practice to continually stay currently on legislation so that she can represent her clients in the best manner possible.


“As attorneys, you kind of have to [stay current] otherwise you are kind of out of the loop and do not know what is going on.”

someone in handcuffs who has been arrested and will need an attorney

As a Lawyer you See and Hear Things That are Difficult. How Do You Deal/Cope with That?

Law, especially family law and criminal law, can have difficult days. Attorneys see and hear things that are scary, disturbing, or sad. However, this is their job and they have to be able to go home at the end of the day and not carry the burden of what they witnessed or heard testified in court or from their client affect their home life. This can be challenging.


“There are days when things stress you out or get more difficult than you would like to. As an attorney, or in different professions like medicine, you kind of have to be able to compartmentalize what you are doing and realize it is not you, it is not your life specifically but you have to separate yourself from your clients and be able to walk away each night and go home and let it go.”

Some days this is easier to do than others.


“There are cases that you can’t. You are so used to it and you are so invested in that case that it makes it difficult to do that. But you really have to, for your own sanity, be able to walk away.”

You Have to Represent Cases you Might Not Agree with. How Do You Put Aside Your Personal Feelings and Represent your Clients in a Fair and Unbiased Manner?

In both family and criminal law there are cases in which an attorney is representing someone that is accused of something horrific. Sometimes that attorney is Kimm.


“I get a lot of questions about ‘How could I represent that person? or ‘Why am I representing them?’” Unfortunately these questions do not always get the answer the person is looking for. “A lot of that is in criminal [law] because why would I choose to represent someone who has been charged with a sex crime against a child? I don’t always choose that as a public defender. I am assigned those cases.”

As an attorney, it is not their job to like the person being accused. It is not the attorney’s job to agree with the person accused. It is their job to represent them to the best of their ability.


“Whether I like that person or I don’t like that person, that person is still entitled to representation and good representation to make sure their rights under the Constitution are being followed and not being violated. That is my stand on it.”

The rights of every American need to be upheld no matter what the public thinks about them. Innocent until proven guilty is the legal principle that the justice system must uphold.


“Everyone still needs representation no matter what happened. We don’t necessarily have to like the person, we just have to be able to represent them.”

court room benches

What is a Piece of Advice You Would Give a Young Lawyer?

Fresh young lawyers going out to change the world have a lot of optimism. They know it all, they are ready for it all and they can do it all. But before a young new attorney applies at their first law firm or goes after that assistant prosecutor position, listen to the advice of a seasoned professional.


“Go out and get different experiences. Go do lots of internships with lots of different companies and law firms and get all the areas [of law].”

Kimm states that there are so many areas of the law that when lawyers are just starting out they should get as much experience as possible to see what they really enjoy.


“There are cases that you can’t. You are so used to it and you are so invested in that case that it makes it difficult to do that. But you really have to, for your own sanity, be able to walk away.”

She added that just because you enjoyed an area of the law in law school doesn’t mean that will be an area you will like as a profession.


“The application of the law and what you learn in law school are two separate things. You learn theories in law school where the applications could be completely opposite of what you think.” She said it happened to her. “I always thought I would be a prosecutor. That is what I thought would be best. But I like my job as a defense attorney. So you just never know.”


A licensed attorney in the community can answer questions about tenant or landlord rights or the eviction moratorium.



Kimm Burger

Attorney

"I want to hear your side of the story."



KB Law Office P.C. | 43 North Street, Hillsdale, MI 49242 | Tel: 517-797-6021 | office@kburgerlaw.com | www.kburgerlaw.com