Solo and Small Firm

The Practitioner Summer 2014, Volume 20, Issue 3

How to Utilize Motions to Improve Your Practice

By Sarah Avary

Sarah Avary is seeking a position in which she can use her legal research, writing, and advocacy skills. She graduated from Santa Clara University School of Law, where she was a Comments Editor for the Santa Clara Law Review. She is on the Board of the Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz County and a member of the Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County Bar Associations. She can be reached at sarahavary@gmail.com.

Writing, researching, and arguing motions successfully in your cases can be one of the best ways to benefit your clients and improve your reputation among the judiciary and other attorneys. Some attorneys struggle to develop as strong motion writers because they do not know what motions are available, they do not recognize potential motions because they do not know or understand the law, or they simply do not have the time to write them. However, in doing so, attorneys miss one of the most valuable opportunities to strengthen their practices.

I have had a very high success rate with motions in criminal defense practice. I have utilized motions to benefit my clients, gain a reputation as a strong advocate among judges, receive better plea offers from Deputy District Attorneys, and, most importantly, get numerous cases dismissed. In my opinion, criminal defense attorneys tend to underutilize motions due to time constraints. This mistake can result in unfavorable results for clients along with increased costs and stress. Motions can often be the easiest and best way to get clients’ cases dismissed or get their charges significantly reduced.

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