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David Benowitz on The Value of Experience

The Value of Experience Generally

Question: How important is prior experience when one is looking for a criminal defense attorney?

David Benowitz: I think it’s a combination. I think experience is important if it’s combined with other things. You have the skill and you have the passion for what you’re doing and the work ethic. (Experience is) definitely a benefit, but it has to be accompanied by other things. There are plenty of people who have a lot of experience, but that experience (may involve) not necessarily doing it the right way. So that doesn’t help you. So … If you have the right training — you have the right energy level and work ethic – that experience is definitely important.

The Value of Experience For David Benowitz

Question: Have you found your experiences defending clients in Washington, DC helpful?

David Benowitz: I definitely find it useful, both in Superior Court and in federal court in DC. I find it helpful just because I’ve been around DC courts for so long, you tend to know everybody. You know how to get things done in a way that’s efficient. There are things that you can do with experience that saves you time [and] saves your client’s time. And … it makes you more efficient at getting results and getting better results than you would otherwise.

Question: What about your experience defending federal cases? Do you find it as helpful as your experience with DC Superior Court cases?

David Benowitz: Yes, definitely. Because I know the prosecutors who have prosecuted federal cases. It doesn’t necessarily get you a better result, but it just helps in the process if you know the people that you’re dealing with, and you’ve dealt with the same people for a long time. For example … if there are discovery issues and you know the prosecutor and you’ve known them for a long time you can sometimes … get discovery information easier than you would otherwise. So I think that in federal court, that’s very helpful.

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