The Champion

March 2013 , Page 05 

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From the President: Mentors Among Us

By Steven D. Benjamin

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Murray Janus was already a legend when I began practicing law. We were criminal defense lawyers in the same town, but within our profession, we were worlds apart. He was the epitome of a criminal defense lawyer. I was a new lawyer learning how to practice. I knew nothing. He knew everything there was to know.

Mr. Janus became my mentor. He was for me — as he was for countless others — the very model of a dignified professional practicing criminal defense at the highest level. He was the man. He was the lawyer’s lawyer. He was the lawyer we wanted to be. So we watched him and tried to learn what it was to be a great lawyer and what it took to ascend to his ranks.

What it took was hard work. We learned from Mr. Janus that being a criminal defense lawyer is not a costume or a role. It is not personality, self-promotion, glibness, or a good spiel. Being a criminal defense lawyer is a lifelong commitment to justice, a belief in the worth of the individual, an allegiance to fairne

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