Joshua Rogala - Winnipeg Criminal Defence Lawyer - Interview

Interview

A fair trial

3 months ago

Attorneys defend the rights of all sorts of criminals, from drug dealers to murderers. Although the public may view them with disdain -- particularly if they win cases for their clients -- defense attorneys have an important role. It is the right of every person to have a fair trial, and it is the defense attorney's responsibility to see that it happens.

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Cylex: What are a lawyer's primary responsibilities?

Joshua Rogala:  A lawyer is a representative of clients, is an officer of the court and a public citizen having special responsibility for the improving justice and access to justice. In the practice of the law, a lawyer should be competent, prompt and diligent. A lawyer should maintain good communication with a client concerning their representation. A lawyer's conduct should conform to the requirements of the law, both in professional service to clients and in the lawyer's business and personal affairs. A lawyer must show respect for the legal system and for those who serve it, including judges and other lawyers. A lawyer should never use their knowledge of the law to take advantage of others or intimidate others, but only for legitimate purposes.  As a public citizen, a lawyer should seek improvement of the law, access to justice and the quality of legal services provided by the profession. As a professional trained in the law, a lawyer must strive to cultivate knowledge of the law beyond use for just clients, but employ knowledge in reform of the law for the betterment of society. A lawyer should generous with his knowledge and skills, keeping in mind the fact that the poor, and sometimes persons who are not poor, cannot needed legal representation. A lawyer should aid the legal profession in pursuing these objectives and should help the bar regulate itself in the public interest.

Cylex: What do lawyers do? Do they spend most of their time arguing cases in court?

Joshua Rogala:  A lawyer may perform various functions. As advisor, an advocate, a negotiator, an intermediary between clients, as a spokesperson, as third party neutral, and as an evaluator. We serve the best interests of the client to enhance the quality of legal services in our communities. We are educators and reformers. Most of the work lawyers do are not before the court, but in the office and boardroom. Court is a final destination for legal matters that cannot be resolved without the neutral arbitration or authority of the courts. In court, sometimes the parties are in agreement over issues, but frequently are at odd having to advocate from the view of their clients in the hope to reach a just result.

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Cylex: What is your legal specialty?

Joshua Rogala:  My practice is solely in the area of criminal law and regulatory law. I have represents clients charged with theft, fraud, assault, impaired driving, drug trafficking and murder. Working in the criminal justice system, I have developed skill focused on procedure, criminal law, rules of evidence and individual Charter rights. I work with clients in order that their voices be heard and their rights be upheld.

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Cylex: How often will you update a client on the status of the case?

Joshua Rogala: As a criminal defence lawyer I am required to update my clients with new information I receive from the Crown Attorney during the course of their matter. I frequently meet with my clients to discuss their goals and ensure I am working toward achieving their desired outcome. I keep my cell phone on me at all time, and check my voicemail and email frequently. I try to get back to my clients quickly when they have questions or want updates. I may also be required to visit correction centres where my clients are detained in custody.

Cylex: In addition to billable hours, what other costs do you charge for?

Joshua Rogala: I typically works on a block fee basis rather than on an hourly rate. My experience has taught me that clients want to know, in advance, how much their case is going to cost them, and my block fee structure provides clients with the certainty they are looking for. I have also found that this allows for better communication between myself and my clients, as neither the lawyer nor the client is watching the clock to determine how much each conversation will cost. Each case is different, and our block fees are tailored to each specific case depending on the complexities involved.

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Cylex: Is there a way you could give us an example or two about successful cases ( no names required, just the situation)?

Joshua Rogala: One of my clients was made death threats against a Crown Attorney, Judge and Probation Officer to his friend during the course of a long proceeding. He was venting his feelings to his friend in confidence, but the phone call was recorded as he was in custody. He was criminally charged for uttering threats. At trial, I was able to put the entire situation into context, proving his word were not meant to be taken seriously. He was found not guilty of all charge.

Cylex: What are three aspects you enjoy about what you do?

Joshua Rogala: Three aspects I really enjoy about my work is

(1) the mental challenge of understanding a case, the law, and solutions.

(2) helping my clients find justice in a system that is stacked against them.

(3) the variety of work, from research, to writing and interviewing clients, to advocating in the courtroom.

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A criminal defense lawyer is a crucial aspect of the defense process and should be chosen with care and research. Ensure that the lawyer is certified and has time to dedicate to your case instead of balancing way too many cases. You would want someone who gives his undivided attention to your case.