Happy Monday from Atlanta, Georgia where I am working on some of my federal criminal cases. I just finished communicating with one prosecutor, and the process made me think of some of the tips I’ve learned over the years on how federal criminal defense attorneys can improve their skills to better negotiate with federal prosecutors.
As is well known, the vast majority of cases or investigations end up without a trial. That means much of the federal criminal defense lawyer’s time is devoted to talking with an Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) in an effort to see if there is a way to resolve the client’s case more favorably. However, the fact that most cases end up in a plea does not mean that the lawyer should always look to negotiate. Instead, we need to simultaneously prepare to both fight and talk peace, a difficult balancing act.
This leads to negotiating Tip #1. Sometimes the best negotiating tactic is to fight, fight, and fight some more. Over the years I’ve noticed that even the best federal prosecutors get weary when the defense just keeps on coming at them with one issue or another. Every once in a while, this approach causes the AUSA to offer a better “deal” simply to stop the work of responding to the defense motions. Now, this only works when the defense lawyer’s moves are well-founded, and not just some off-the-wall pleading or motion. So, tip #1, work hard, sometimes it pays off for the client down the road.