There is also a human element to a criminal defense. The accused is a person. Usually, the accused has family and friends that care about him/her regardless of what the allegations might be. A good criminal defense attorney recognizes this and tries to nurture a relationship with the client and his/her family in order to better serve the client. While it might not be in the book definition of criminal defense, it is my book regarding criminal defense that people need to be treated right and that starts with honesty and integrity in discussions about the case and treating people with dignity and respect they deserve for being human (regardless of what they are accused of or may or may not have done).
On the other hand, if you have been paying attention, the smart client wants an attorney who has accumulated the necessary skill and experience, that can accurately assess the client’s legal situation, formulate a thoughtful and comprehensive theory of the case (or defense) in terms of an executable plan, and has the savvy and the moxie to execute the plan for the client with the client’s goals and best interests at heart. The attorney must also be able to manage expectations and have the courage to tell a paying client the truth when the chances are all spent and their might better to pursue other options.
Criminal defense is a skill that is developed over time with extensive litigation, hard work, dedication, and many jury trials. These skills are learned and perfected over the years as the attorney defends clients in and out of court. As a result, criminal defense attorneys should be able to try a case.