"The defense lawyer is just one cog in the criminal justice system.
If everyone does their job—and does it well—everything will
work." This is the humble perspective
Attorney Ian N. Friedman shared when speaking to
Attorney at Law Magazine in its latest Cleveland Edition about his role in the local criminal court system.
Attorney Friedman was not only profiled in the issue, but honored as the
“Attorney of the Month”. In the revealing and frank piece,
“A Duty to All”, Attorney Friedman discussed his early legal
aspirations, his formative early cases, and the efforts he has made to
improve the Ohio criminal justice system.
Legal aspirations came early to Attorney Friedman—as a fourth grade
student, he shadowed a district attorney—but his vision of becoming
a prosecutor changed during law school, and he chose to pursue criminal
defense instead. Among his mentors at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
was his trial advocacy coach, Gary Williams. "He was so passionate
about the law," remembers Attorney Friedman. "He just had this
energy about the practice of law that I anticipated I would have as a
Attorney Friedman went on to start his own practice and still vividly remembers
the early cases that made a lasting impression on him. Among them was
the case of a woman accused of destroying government documents. The case—and
the government's lack of cooperation—quickly tempered Attorney
Friedman's expectations about our justice system.
"I went into the case believing that right is right and the truth
will always prevail," he told
Attorney at Law. "In the middle of this trial... I realized that justice system is
run by people. You can't always count on everyone in the courtroom."
He admits that he's learned to remind new clients that while our justice
system is good, it is not perfect.
Instilling Meaningful Change
Attorney Friedman also spoke to the magazine about his contributions to
the criminal justice system, in hopes of making it even more efficient
and fair. In 2006, Attorney Friedman became President of the Ohio Association
of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He decided to use that opportunity to do
something unprecedented: he reached out the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney's
Association and, over the course of two years, established the rule of
discovery – so that both prosecutors and defense counsel share all
evidence before a trial. The rule was sorely needed in the Ohio system
and, as Attorney Friedman puts it, removed a bitter element of "gamesmanship
on both sides of the aisle."
Now leading a team of young lawyers he helped mentor, Attorney Friedman
continues to not only to fiercely and emphatically defend his clients,
but also expand his knowledge and resources in order to do so at the highest
"If, at the end of the day, you can say you left no stone unturned;
if you can say that you represented your clients the way you would want
to be represented, you know you've done a good job," Attorney
Friedman told the magazine. "There shouldn't be anything less
Read Attorney at Law's outstanding profile of Attorney Ian N. Friedman.