Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Mr. Prosecutor Can't Come to the Phone Right Now..."

One of our Texas prosecutors took a break from his cases to provide us this little insight into his world.  Here's what he has to say.


You might wonder sometimes how nice it would be to have the life of a highly-paid government lawyer (i.e. prosecutor) with one of the easiest and least demanding jobs in the world. No nagging clients, no trips to the jail, no requirement to return endless phone messages... Yeah, right. You may have a hundred clients, we've got a thousand cases and a thousand victims and thousands of witnesses and, of course, an endless array of defense attorneys. And what do all of these have in common (at least all of the ones that I work with)? They like to leave their message after the beep...

We always give due diligence when it comes to returning calls, but as you know, it can sometimes take a while not only listen to the messages, but then return them one by one. Here's my simple piece of advice. Put down the phone and open up the laptop. I had a defense attorney in my office yesterday and we had finished discussing a case. On his way out the door, I told him to call me with any other questions. His response? "I'll send you an email. I always get a quicker response from prosecutors that way."

There was a man who had a dog and Bingo was his name - oh! B-I-N-G-O!

The reason its easier to return an email is because of the numerous ways we access our email now. Clearly, you're not getting a prosecutor's cell phone number, but guess what he checks on his cell phone? That's right! Emails. He may be in court, in a meeting or even stuck at his desk. More than likely, wherever he is, he's checking his emails. And, almost as easily as we check them, we can respond to them. Sometimes you need a quick answer on something. Sometimes you just need to verify something said at a prior meeting. Whatever the reason you need to communicate with a prosecutor is irrelevant. What matters is nowadays you have 3 ways to communicate - 1) over the phone 2) in person (appointments only please!) or 3) or via email. Email is to phone calls what, well, email is to snail mail. Much faster and easier.

That's not to say you can never call a prosecutor. But think about this, if you communicate normally via email with a prosecutor and do end up with a pressing matter you need to call him about, how much more will your call mean? "Hmmm, this must be important, she always emails..." is probably the thought the prosecutor's having.

I don't know a single prosecutor who would rather make a call than respond to an email. But remember, if I respond to your email and it's clear in my response I need your response, treat me with the same respect I showed you and email me back. Don't leave me hanging or I might forego further emails with you and make you wait for the beep...