Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Speedy Trial: Q&A with Dane Co's Legal Community

This new feature introduces a member of Dane County's legal community as they answer five questions posed to them by DCLRCBlawg. If you would like to participate, please email Paula Seeger for more information.

First up: Deb Smith, Director- Assigned Counsel Division, Wisconsin State Public Defender

1. What's the favorite part of your job?
  • Having something new to think about every day. This is also the least favorite part of my job at times.

2. What's the greatest challenge facing Dane Co. courts or legal professionals today?

  • The justice system has been substantially underfunded for years at the same time as more cases pour through the doors. The people of Wisconsin deserve better.

3. What's the one thing that has changed the most since you took your job?

  • The level of stress felt by people in the justice system. It seems to make us lose our sense of humor and our perspective.

4. You would describe your legal research style as:

A: Legal Research...what's that?
B: Thank Goodness for staff attorneys and office staff!
C: Mostly at home, mostly as needed
D: All research, all the time

5. What three pieces of advice would you give to someone new to your line of work?

  • If you don't have a passion for the work, do something else.
  • Build a support structure at work so that you don't feel that you're all alone.
  • Make outside-of-work friends who are not lawyers. The more non-lawyers the better.