Stacey Washington pursues writing avocation

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By Frank Weir

Legal News

Local attorney Stacey Washington has found an avocation in the art of the written word.

For the past year, she has written for Abec's Small Business Review, which is distributed throughout Washtenaw County and focuses on small businesses and their owners.

Washington writes a monthly column focusing on criminal law which is her current practice specialty.

The title of her column in the November edition is: "Do Criminal Court Judges Have a Sense of Humor?"

Washington noted that she also has started a blog dealing with the law in general and criminal defense specifically.

"I had never written for publication before," she admitted recently. "But I had been told in the past that I write well. I believe the legal profession does not particularly foster great creative writing given the formulaic approach to preparing pleadings and briefs."

Washington notes that her column and blog "allow me more freedom to take off the lawyer hat and be more creative and it is very rewarding when people tell me they actually read and liked something I wrote."

She said her subject matter varies depending upon "my mood and the flow of ideas. I write about frequently asked questions, issues that crop up in the news and my thoughts about the world, life and the law."

She does try to avoid too many legal details "that might bore people. My main goal is to pique people's curiosity and interest and to show them my human side. I don't want them to view me as a stereotypical attorney."

In addition, she hopes that readers get a better idea of her approach to legal practice and her life philosophy.

Born and raised in Detroit, Washington said she decided in her junior year of high school that she wanted to be pursue a legal career.

"I'm a big Perry Mason fan like Sonia Sotomayor and I had only met one lawyer and one judge before law school, after being hit by a car at the age of 6.

"I didn't know much about how the law worked but I enjoyed social studies and learning about government and law making."

Those interests led Washington to Wayne State University for undergrad and law studies. She was admitted to the bar in 1987.

After practicing employment law and family law, she currently is a criminal defense attorney, saying, "I realized that I prefer being in court a lot and the fast pace of criminal law. Also, I feel like I'm actually helping people more often than not."

Washington approaches criminal defense with "the client's needs and goals in mind and then working on achieving the result that's best for the individual client. "Mine is not a cookie cutter approach. It's about having a personalized, good relationship and mutual trust. I represent a lot of people who've never been in trouble with the law before, including kids in college and professionals, and they are scared."

Washington emphasizes getting to know each client. "Not every client wants to or should go to battle but if it's what the client wants and it's warranted, then I am more than willing to try the case. I consider what I do a team effort and I don't just focus on the legal process but advise and refer clients to other resources: for instance, if there is a substance abuse or mental health issue involved."

And she assists clients with "collateral issues" that can result from their criminal involvement including graduate school and job applications. professional licenses, "how to talk to mom and dad" and the like.

And the column about judges and humor? She noted that one judge had the entire courtroom sing "happy birthday" to Washington once, much to her surprise.

She wrote, "Although the criminal court experience can be very serious and nerve wracking, there can still be some soft, light-hearted moments to make the experience a bit less painful."

Abec's website can be found at: http://abecssbr.com and Washington's blog at: http://www.smwashingtonlaw.com/blog

Published: Mon, Dec 5, 2011

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