“There are really only two types of men in the world when it comes to bad trouble….One of those two kinds of men just hopes for the best….The other sort….knows there’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst….
...I was prepared for the hurricane.”
Andy Dufresne to Red
Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, Different Seasons, The Viking Press, 1982, at page 67
An allegation of criminal behaviour will rank among the worst trouble that your client will encounter in his or her life.
It is critical to prepare for the brewing storm. While preparing for the worst is never pleasant, it is an integral part of Defence counsel's role when providing information and advice to a client.
In preparing for the worst, a client must understand that Defence counsel is not a cheerleader. Defence counsel does not tell the client only what he or she wants or hopes to hear about what may happen. In this regard, Defence counsel often serves as a reality check against misinformation that the client may have received from friends, family, the Internet and a lifetime of exposure to American legal dramas on film and television.
A client must also understand that Defence counsel is not a magician. Hiring a criminal defence lawyer is not akin to purchasing a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Defence counsel does not guarantee a specific outcome. Defence counsel must often assist the client in calibrating his or her expectations as to what the 'best' outcome may be given the particular circumstances of his or her case.
One benefit of preparing for the worst is that it allows a client to regain some degree control over his or her life. The client will know what to expect and will have a plan of action ready in the event that the hurricane hits.
The storm may even pass as a result of the client's preparation. In some cases, for example, the choices that a client makes when interacting with the police may influence whether the police ultimately decide to move forward with a charge.
After counsel is retained, hoping for the best is no longer an exercise in wishful thinking. Counsel will act in the client’s interests to advocate for the best possible outcome given the unique circumstances of his or her case.