Many words have been used to describe me as a lawyer. Artist. Lifesaver. Gifted. Animal. Master. Emotional. Hearing those things said about oneself is not easy. Don't get me wrong, they are kind words and I appreciate each one of them but they only begin to scratch the surface of my character, my soul, my essence. There is something deeper in me -- a need to win or die trying.
I happened upon a portion of a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt that comes closer to describing me and what I feel:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood . . .”
I am a trial lawyer. A warrior. Unlike many of my contemporaries, I am in the arena. While I hate to see the government put a client, his/her family and loved ones in that arena, I relish those moments. I live for them. As I've said many times before, I was born to do this.
How did I get here? How did I become a criminal defense attorney?
In 1968, the country was in turmoil. War. Protests. The Counterculture. Citizens were fighting back against the government. In the midst of this environment, I was born. From the start, my parents and relatives said that Â“Neil's going to be a lawyer.Â” I didn't think much about it then . . . looking back on it now, I know that they saw into my soul -- I would never back down. I will fight.
I was born in Detroit, Michigan, graduated from the University of Michigan and returned to Detroit to go to law school (Wayne State University Law School). After law school, I joined the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office. At one point, the Prosecuting Attorney, referred to me as one of the top five (5) trial lawyers in his office (of 120+ lawyers). In 1997, I could take prosecuting cases and people no more . . . I resigned and became a criminal defense lawyer. I have never looked back. Law and Politics Magazine named me of one of Michigan's Super Lawyers, an honor bestowed on only 5% of all criminal defense lawyers, 944 Magazine named me one of Detroit's Movers and Shakers and dbusiness magazine named me of Detroit's Top Lawyers.
But some people still wonder, Â“how did you get to the forefront of Michigan Medical Marijuana Defense?Â” I hate suffering. I have seen too much of it in my family history. If medical marijuana provides assistance or relief to anyone suffering from any illness or painful condition, then that person should have access to it. Period. The idea of the government interfering in those personal decisions offends me to my core.
This biography is unconventional, I recognize that. Its written differently than any other I've seen. But, I'm an unconventional lawyer. Different than any other I've seen or met.
I live in the arena, the courtroom. I fight.
New York, 2006 U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 1997
U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio, 2003>
U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan
U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 2001
Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan, 1993 Juris Doctor
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1990 Bachelor of General Studies Major: Disciplines - Political Science, Psychology, Sociology
Professional Associations and Memberships:
Michigan State Bar Association Member
New York State Bar Association Member
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Member
Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan Member
Michigan Trial Lawyers Association Member
American Association for Justice Member
State Bar of Michigan, Criminal Defense section Member
Friends of the Israel Defense Force, Board of Directors
Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Regional Advisory Board
Past Employment Positions:
Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, 1993 - 1997