Should a lawyer think like a criminal or think like an attorney?


All professional service providers are looking for an advantage to get business in the door and criminal defense attorneys are no exception. Many will gloat about the number of cases they’ve won or their unparalleled experience. Pittsburgh attorney, Daniel Muessig, is going a different direction—he’s telling prospective clients that he’s the right lawyer because he “thinks like a criminal.”

Now I remember the first year of law school being chastised by predatory professors using the socratic method. I remember a legal writing class when my papers were cut apart for deficient legal reasoning. Finally, as a law student, I remember being constantly harangued for not “thinking like a lawyer.” Muessig now makes me wonder whether my meager legal education was somehow deficient because I wasn’t taught to “think like a criminal?”

Muessig’s clever video has already attracted nationwide attention and has had more than 75,000 views on YouTube. To state the obvious, the video has nothing more than entertainment value. No lawyer worth their salt could ever seriously tell a client that he’ll “think like a criminal” in court and that will somehow advance the client’s cause. In short, there’s no substitute for logic, common sense, and legal reasoning.