Interview Questions with Attorney Shaeffer

I chose criminal law because I wanted to be in the courtroom and I wanted to be in front of a jury. I enjoy the fight and the challenge.

I vigorously advocate for my clients.

I enjoy fighting abuse and heavy-handedness in the system and standing up for the rights of my clients. Without this struggle, our inherited Constitutional rights cannot endure. Criminal law has allowed me a much greater opportunity for this to happen. Moreover, as a defense attorney, I am always given the chance to fight for my clients.

My office is unique in its depth of experience and its zest for passionate and competent representation of my clients. I am board certified in criminal law and hold the highest ethical and professional rating from the leading lawyer referral system, Martindale Hubble®, which is teamed with Lawyers.com. This rating is composed of input from both other lawyers and judges who have been my peers throughout my legal career. Through this experience and knowledge, my office is able to look at every angle of the defense. In addition, I strive to get my clients in the optimal position for a favorable outcome. I take care to make sure that my clients are well informed of their options and ensure that they understand all of the consequences of their decisions that they make with their case. I make every effort to get the client back to a feeling that they are in control of their life and that they can move forward with their plans for their future and their families.

I represented a man that had an impossible case to defend. He was charged with a DWI and the case looked like it would be impossible to win He was stopped by a state trooper going the wrong way on a divided highway, he had difficulty performing the field sobriety tests and his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Nevertheless, when I interviewed him, I chose to take the case knowing that his livelihood was at stake (with a conviction, he could not hold his job) and his family would come into financial jeopardy. He came to me because his first attorney was unable to take the case to trial and he just wanted someone to stand up for him. As I prepared for trial, I got to know him and the facts of his case better. I started to see that there were explanations for some of the facts that had previously looked so damning to my client. I felt well prepared for trial and both my client and I bonded very well with the jury panel. During trial, the trooper and the assistant DA took an arrogant view of the facts and their attitude was not lost on the jury.

To both of their surprise, the jury quickly acquitted my client, agreeing with the defense that the trooper had been quick to judge my client, and that something just didn’t seem right with the manner in which he treated him. Moreover, my arguments regarding the best test device and the manner in which I presented the inherent flaws with this machine convinced the jury that something was wrong with the alcohol level attributed to my client. Most rewarding, however, was the fact that when I later met my client months after trial during a hearing to expunge his arrest record for this case, he explained how he had taken this entire episode to heart and given up drinking and smoking. He explained that he now spent much more time with his wife and daughter and that the money he was now saving instead of spending was allowing him to save enough to ensure that his daughter’s college education would be well funded. It is rare to be able to get such results in trial. But I remind myself of this case and approach new cases with an open mind and thorough preparation.

There is no substitute for preparation. Without a full understanding of the facts and pertinent laws surrounding a case, a lawyer cannot adequately defend his client. This is even more certain with a difficult case. In preparing for a difficult case, I work to build a clear understanding of my client’s position and perspective in order to defend them. Without a solid understanding of the laws that will affect a difficult case, one cannot be prepared to seize opportunities or navigate the client through a tough situation.

They need someone who fully understands the law and the case they are being confronted with. They need a professional who is able to analyze their legal situation clearly and competently and help advise them in a trying situation. I have a strong personal bond with my clients. I enjoy working for them and helping them and their families. In the same way, I maintain a professional viewpoint that allows me to see clearly how I can help my clients. I do not let my personal opinions or feelings cloud my judgment. In this way, I am better able to advise my clients effectively.

Passion and tenacity. I vigorously defend my clients and don’t take “no” for an answer. I understand the need to fight hard for my clients. I have been practicing both as a state prosecutor and a defense attorney for almost 25 years now, and I understand how to most effectively represent my clients. I do not use the same approach to every case. I study the case and my opposition and find the optimal way to achieve the goals.

My experience helps me see opportunities for my clients that I would never have seen as a young lawyer. I am able to read people and situations much more clearly now. My knowledge from the thousands of cases that I have reviewed and the hundreds of cases that I have tried gives me a thorough background to analyze each case. I am able to see the important nuances that make the difference in a case. As well, I am able to spot legal issues other less experienced attorney would miss.

I handle a wide range of cases given my experience and background. I represent both adult and juvenile clients. I have the ability and knowledge to represent clients in both state and federal prosecutions. Among other cases, I handle DWI, fraud, domestic violence, juvenile, theft, assault, white collar crimes, government contract fraud, and drug cases. In addition, I have successfully petitioned for the sealing and expunction of a wide variety of cases in courts throughout central Texas.

Giving my clients a sense of reassurance. Helping them better understand their legal situation gives most people the feeling that they are back in control of their lives. It also helps my clients see the optimal means of resolving their case, whether it is by trial, a plea agreement, or a dismissal. Most people want an attorney they can trust and one that they can depend on to help them make the right decision about their case. I enjoy helping my clients get to that point and positioning them in a place where they can gain the optimal result possible for their case.

I remind them of why they sought out an attorney with my level of experience and skill. They sought such an attorney so that they could put themselves in the optimal position to make an informed and thoughtful decision on how to deal with their case. I advise them to look at their case with an informed eye and not with a wishful one. It is essential that a client be confident in his attorney’s ability to advise them properly and for the client to be able to follow that advice. Sometimes the advice is simply common sense; sometimes it is based more on the legal circumstances of the case.