2020 Legal Elite — Criminal Law Profile
Jamilah D. LeCruise, The Law Office of J.D. LeCruise PLLC, Norfolk
Other legal specialties: Therapeutic dockets, including drug court and mental health court
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Richmond; law degree, William & Mary
First job as a lawyer: Magistrate attorney
Fan of: Early voting
Recently read book: “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice,” by Paul Butler
Hobbies or pastimes: Painting, movies, gym
Favorite vacation spot: Toronto
Career mentors: William T. Mason Jr., Tameeka M. Williams, the Hon. Robert F. Hagans Jr., David P. Baugh
Why did you decide to open your own practice?
I thoroughly enjoyed my work at the Norfolk public defender’s office. I liked representing individual clients, many of whom were in serious need of effective advocacy and had prior bad experiences with court-appointed counsel. I was glad that I could change minds and instill more faith in the public defender system. I handled more than 800 cases. I intended to open my own practice 10 years out of law school. I had the opportunity to do so at age 29 when I took over another attorney’s practice as he became a judge. I have been in solo practice for five years.
What’s been your most interesting case?
I represented an elderly woman charged with 20 felonies. Once I reviewed the evidence, it was clear that she had been the victim of fraud. With the help of an investigator, we were able to lay out the case for the prosecutor and convince her to withdraw the charges against my client. It is always rewarding to represent clients and see them in the community doing well.
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