,

Law Office of Louis J. Goodman

Louis Goodman Interviewed by Kelly Bagla

Louis Goodman Interviewed by Kelly Bagla

Transcript
Louis Goodman

Hello, and welcome to Love Thy Lawyer. I’m Louis Goodman. We’re going to do something a little different today. I’m going to be on the other side of the microphone. I have the honor of being interviewed by Kelly Bagla of the Go Legal Yourself Podcast. So here in its entirety unedited is Kelly’s interview.



Kelly Bagla

Welcome to the Go Legal Yourself Podcast. This show is about knowing the legal lifecycle of your business. Welcome to the Go Legal Yourself Podcast. I’m your host and legal friend attorney Kelly Bagla, the Queen of Business Law. And today, I have a wonderful surprise for you. There’s going to be an attorney, me, interviewing another attorney. So that’s going to be fun. And today’s guest is Louis J. Goodman. And Louis is with the Law Office of Louis J. Goodman. Louis is a practicing attorney and I am going to bring him on so he can share his experience with us. And also ask him some fun questions. Welcome to the show, Louis.



Louis Goodman

Thanks so much for having me. It’s really a pleasure to be on. It’s an honor to meet you.



Kelly Bagla

Thank you so much. It is gonna be fun. I mean, two lawyers talking. In fact, I heard a joke this morning, and I’ve never heard this one before. The two lawyers went into a really nice high end restaurant. They ordered, you know, the top of the line coffee. So the waitress brings out the coffees, and then they pull out a sandwich each from their briefcase and they start eating their own food. And the waitress goes, I’m so sorry, you’re not allowed to eat your own food in this establishment. So the two lawyers looked at each other, they swap sandwiches and continued eating. Louis, do you have a joke or a quote to share with us?



Louis Goodman

Well, this lawyer goes in for some minor surgery. He wakes up in the hospital room and he sees that all the blinds are just shut really tight. And he says, why are the blinds shut so tight? And the nurse says, Well, there’s a big fire across the street, and we didn’t want you to think you had died.



Kelly Bagla

There you go. There you go. You’re obviously a practicing attorney. You are on the litigation civil side.



Louis Goodman

No, I do nothing but Criminal Defense.



Kelly Bagla

Oh,so is it appropriate to call you a Criminal Lawyer?





Louis Goodman

Criminal Defense Lawyer, Criminal Justice Lawyer, Constitutional Rights Lawyer? Criminal Lawyer. Sure.



Kelly Bagla

But then again, all lawyers criminal? No, I’m just joking. How did you become a lawyer? How did you decide to go into law?



Louis Goodman

You know, I think on some level lawyers are born, not made. And I’ve always been someone who’s interested in public speaking. In junior high, I was in the debate club. I was always the person who was asked to run interference for friends when they were in trouble with school authority. So I think that being a lawyer was just kind of baked into me. And it didn’t hurt that my dad was a lawyer. And so when I graduated from college, II really hadn’t really thought about being a lawyer or anything else. And I I was working on cars, because I had a part time job doing that in college. And then when I graduated, I just kept going. And a guy that I was working with there, said to me, what happened to you over there at the university? I said, What do you mean, what happened to me? He says, Well, I mean, did you drop out? Did you just leave? Did you graduate? I mean, what happened? I said, No, I graduated. And he said, Well, do you have a degree? I said, Yeah, I’ve got a degree. He says, Well, don’t you think you could be doing something better than this? And I said, Well, I said, I’m sure I could go to law school. He says, well, but he says, you do that you go to law school. And I thought about it for a while and I took his advice. And I just started applying to some law schools. And I ended up getting into it to University of California Hastings and it’s San Francisco and it was just a great place to be a great place to go to school was a really wonderful experience.



Kelly Bagla

That is a great law school. Actually, I did my undergrad I graduated from Cal State, Hayward.



Louis Goodman

Oh, really, that’s where my office is in Hayward. Harvard on the Hill as what we used to call it. My office is in Hayward, I’ve had an office in the same place in the same building in Hayward since 1990.



Kelly Bagla

Wow. So you’ve been practicing for a while, yes.



Louis Goodman

For longer than I can imagine. I started out in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, and had a really just great experience there. I loved being a Deputy District Attorney. But I think like a lot of us, especially those of us who, you know, we see, and we hear and we meet in the podcast world, I just kind of wanted to do something on my own. I wanted to, I had other ideas about what I wanted to do, including living in Hawaii for a while, which I did immediately after leaving the DA’S office, and then got an offer to do criminal defense back in California. And I took that opportunity and worked for and with somebody else for a while and learned a lot, and then ultimately went on my own. And I’ve been doing that ever since.



Kelly Bagla

It’s interesting, though. In that respect, you say that attorneys are born. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer at the age of five. And at that time, I don’t know what a lawyer was, I must have seen a show. I have no idea. But all I knew was I wanted to be a lawyer. And that’s what I was going to do. I’m the very first lawyer and in fact, the only boy in my family, all of my siblings have gone into the medical profession some respect or another but me No, no, not that I can’t even walk into a hospital without getting the heebie jeebies, right. And so, I have come across other lawyers, if you will, that are either burnt out from practicing law, or they just figured after putting in a couple of years, it’s just not for them. It’s too stressful for them. But the ones that are really meant to be lawyers, those are born to be lawyers. And I really resonate with you on that statement that you made. So clearly, I love what I do love it. Clearly you love what you do, too. How did you get to that stage, Louis, of loving what you did,



Louis Goodman

it’s a process. And I think like a lot of things, I came at it consciously. Because I think that even if you really love what you do, you can love 90% of it. But 10% of it is just scary, dreadful. A problem keeps you up at night. And I think that the key thing is to learn to recognize that that 90% of it outweighs the 10% of it. I also think that in doing the work that I do, I had to really understand what about it, what there was about it that I really liked. And what I really liked, was being in a position to support people in making substantial positive changes in their own lives. And then as an attorney, being able to use those substantial positive changes, to explain to a Judge and a District Attorney, why somebody shouldn’t go to jail, but rather should be given a rehabilitation program or continue a rehabilitation program that I had worked on getting them into, or, you know, being involved in some counseling. And those are the kinds of ways that I think that as an attorney, as a criminal defense attorney, that I can really support individuals in making life changing improvements.



Kelly Bagla

The practice of law is so vast, and when you go to law school, you don’t necessarily know via off the bat, which discipline you want to go into. We have business law, we’ve got criminal law, we’ve got immigration law, we’ve got intellectual property law, there’s so many different disciplines within the field of law that one can go into practice it. But how, what makes a great criminal defense lawyer, Louis?



Louis Goodman

Well, I think that there’s a certain element of knowing owns self. I talk to lawyers all the time. And last week, I talked to two different lawyers who have two very different practices. One does nothing but estate planning. And the reason she loves that work is because she never has to be confrontational with anybody. She talks to people about very long term plans. She drafts, you know Wills, Trusts, and really well works on making it so that people can plan for their future in a very non confrontational way. And, that’s what she really likes about it that she never has to get in an argument with anybody. She could advise people, but she doesn’t have to be confrontational. Then I talked to another lawyer who does really high level plaintiff’s personal injury. He says, you know, I’m never happier than when I’m in court, getting ready for that trial day to start. That is, that’s what I live for. Now, those are just two extreme opposites. And yet, they’re both attorneys. They both practice law, they both have very successful careers. But I think each of them has really thought about what it is that they want to do, who they are as a person, and been able to craft the practice of law into something that works for them. Let me speak for myself for a moment. I’m not really at either end. When I got into the law, I really saw myself as a litigator, as someone who loved being in court, love being in front of juries. And I’ve tried well over 50 cases to jury verdict. So I certainly have that piece. But being more involved in criminal defense, and recognizing that the criminal defense system is very much stacked against the defendant, I’ve really learned to become much more of a negotiator and mediator, someone who tries to arrive at Win Win solutions. That’s kind of trite, but I mean, but seriously, try to come to some kind of a win win solution that works for my client, it works for the district attorney, and it works for the judge. And if we can get to that circumstance, to me, that’s really doing my client, a service.



Kelly Bagla

Tell us one of your favorite representations of a client, and how you created a win win situation.



Louis Goodman

I had someone who was charged with driving under the influence and multiple prior convictions, which in California requires jail time. I mean, there’s a mandatory minimum 120 days in the county jail on a DUI with two prior convictions. It’s a misdemeanor, but it requires jail time. And I was able to get that individual into a live in program. And as a result of that live in program, the court sentenced him to the live in program for I think it was a minimum of 180 actual days. And I think they got that number from the program because the program said we want him here for six months in the live in program. And I was able to get the court to give him day for day credit in the live in program. Now, on 180 day sentence, if someone were to do that in county jail, they would get halftime credits, so would only be actual 90 days in jail, or if was the minimum 120 days would be 60 days in jail. But here, he spent 180 actual days in a live in program that he couldn’t really leave. But it was a whole lot better than being in jail. And it gave him a platform for making those substantial positive changes in his own life. And this is someone who, not all the time, but I would say every once in a while will call me or send me an email or send me a holiday card. And it’s very gratifying to get that kind of feedback from a client. It doesn’t happen all the time, as matter of fact doesn’t happen all that often. And my dad used to say if you expect anybody to thank you for what you do, you could wait a long time for that to happen. But every once in a while, and it really is gratifying.



Kelly Bagla

It truly is. I think we’re really all in the service of helping others. Despite what the reputation is about lawyers out there. It’s an extremely noble profession to be in. Lawyers have been around since day one, ever since civilization was created. They’ve been around and the reason why they’re around is because we do represent other people’s interest and to the best of our ability as well. Now, Louis being a lawyer if you could be anything else, what are the profession would you choose?



Louis Goodman

I think I’d be an electrician.



Kelly Bagla

Wow, why is that?



Louis Goodman

I think that one of the things that I really enjoyed, even as a little kid and even today is recognizing the notion that a positive wire and a negative wire, make a circuit and that if you put something between those two wires, you can make it run, whether it’s a light bulb or a machine, or whatever. And I think that that’s really, you know, ultimately the whole basis of computer technology that all of us rely so heavily on these days. And I’m not saying that I would want to be a computer engineer, because I think that’s way above me. But I do like the idea of stringing wire and making something work as a result, and I’ve always kind of had a head for that.



Kelly Bagla

That is so interesting. I would never ever in a million years pick that. Up if you couldn’t be alone, what would you be? I looked at them and I said, I’d be a lawyer. There’s nothing I want to do. But being a lawyer, it’s allowed us to explore other entrepreneurial opportunities. And in fact, I want to mention that you are also a fellow podcaster. And your podcast is called Love Thy Lawyer. How did you come about going from a Criminal Defense Attorney to actually saying, Okay, I’m gonna have my own podcast.



Louis Goodman

Well, first of all, let me just say that I’m not trying to become a multi millionaire through my podcast, I just kind of fell into it, in this sense, is when the whole COVID thing hit us, you know, 18 months ago, in March of 2020, the phone literally stopped ringing in my office. It was like nothing was going on. And I mean, that’s, you know, obviously, changed substantially since but for a while, it just seemed like there was nothing was going to happen. And I’ve always listened to podcasts. I’ve enjoyed podcasts, I think it’s a great medium. And I was just sitting there thinking, well, how hard could this be, I need to do something. Let me figure out how to make a podcast. And I really knew nothing about it. But I knew it involved, microphones, headsets, electricity. And the other thing is that I kind of miss talking to my friends. Before COVID, I spent every professional day of my career in court, that’s what I do. I get up in the morning, I put on a suit, I go to court. I do what I need to in court, generally in the morning, and then I go back to my office and work in the afternoon. That was my life for 30 years. And then all of a sudden, the courts were closed. And I didn’t see anybody. So I thought well, I could do a podcast, and I could interview my friends. And that’s basically what I do. And now I’ve also expanded into interviewing attorneys from all over the country, and also some from other countries, too, like I’m interviewing someone from Canada soon. Or it could even just be someone who’s tied to the legal professions, investigators, police officers, but primarily attorneys, because I like talking to lawyers, lawyers are fun people to talk to. They’re smart. They think about things they read up there. They’re connected. And I’ve really just enjoyed talking to lawyers on my podcast. And that’s really what it’s about.



Kelly Bagla

Well, what a wonderful pivot Louis, I actually want to make an introduction to another podcast. He’s in England, and I was on his show as well. And his show is called Legally Speaking. He has interviewed multiple lawyers around the world. And I think you would be fantastic on his show. And I’m sure you’d love to have him on your show to, his name is Robert Hanna. And again, I’ll make that introduction. And, you know, that’s the beauty about what we’ve discovered during the COVID. Time is we’re able to connect with anyone around the world. Yeah, time. Yeah. That it really wasn’t that prevalent. It wasn’t sort of in your face. It was oh, how do I connect with someone? How do I across the world, right? How do I see them? How do I call them. And now it’s just everyone can jump on Zoom. And everyone can jump on other platforms that where you’re able to see each other, you’re able to communicate with each other, but it’s been brought to the forefront. The other thing that COVID has done is it’s allowed people to work from the home office. And I think it’s really changed lives. In every crisis that we’ve had, Louis, there’s always been something positive that’s come out. And that’s just humans, isn’t it? We don’t let anything drag us down for too long. And we’re always going to keep evolving in that respect. How do you see post COVID? I suppose how do you see life going forward?



Louis Goodman

Let me address that specifically in terms of the court system. The big change with COVID in the court system is the use of the technology that we’re using right now. The Alameda County Court system is using a platform called Blue Jeans. Some of them are using Zoom, some of them are using Microsoft Teams, they work for some court appearances, what I would call serious litigation appearances, for example, a preliminary hearing in a felony case, a jury trial, a felony plea, where you want to have the defendant in front of the court, certainly for an in custody defendant, to have some kind of a plea, I think it’s really important to do those kinds of things in court, live in front of a judge, I think there’s an enormous benefit to that, both in terms of protecting one’s constitutional rights, and just in terms of having people recognize the power and the importance of the court, because it is an enormously powerful institution in people’s lives if they’ve been charged with a crime. However, there’s a lot of court appearances, as any practitioner who goes to court will tell you that are kind of routine things. When you go into court and you say, Judge, I’ve talked to the district attorney, and we both agree this case needs to be put over 30 days, 60 days, we’re still working on discovery, we’re still working things out, we’re trying to come to some resolution, I’m still working on getting my client into the program that the court wants, I mean, whatever it is, but these are appearances that do not, in my view, really require live appearance. And so it’s created this enormous efficiency, where I can be in my office, whether it’s my home office, where I am right now, or my regular office, and be able to work and be able to take care of business and not spend, you know, two and a half hours driving and a half hour waiting around. And then five minutes in front of the court, take care of business. And that really often times is the way it works. So I think that this technology going forward, is going to stay post COVID. And I think that’s probably true for a lot of industries.



Kelly Bagla

I think so too. You’re absolutely right. What advice would you give someone that was thinking about going to law school, and in particular going into the profession of being a Criminal Defense Attorney?



Louis Goodman

Don’t do it. You know, when I went to law school, I went to Hastings, University of California. And at that time, as a state supported school, it was not particularly expensive to go. Now, people are coming out of Hastings $350,000 in debt.



Kelly Bagla

And that’s just postgraduate. But what about the undergraduate to?



Louis Goodman

Right? Right. So but I’m just sort of assuming that you know that whatever undergraduate debt they have, this is just another $300,000 on top of it. So I think you need to think twice, three times before you just kind of go to law school because it sounds good or your mother wants you to go or you think that you can really make a lot of money practicing law, because you need to go to law school, if you have the drive to go because it’s a calling. And because it’s what you want to do with your life. And as far as criminal laws concerned, I would strongly suggest that if you really are interested in criminal law, to take some time off between college and law school, and get a job in the criminal field, whether it’s working at a district attorney’s office, or a public defender’s office, or for a firm that does criminal defense. And even if you have to work for free, or for very little money, go and learn something about it, and go down to the courthouse and go sit in the courtrooms and see what actually happens because it is not LA Law. It is not Perry Mason, it’s not Boston Legal. It’s not Law and Order. It is a very different world. And you have to see if that’s the world that you want to be in. And so I think that one really needs to make a clear decision about why they want to be a criminal lawyer, because it is not a path to riches. It may be a path to a living, but it’s not a path to riches. And one of the reasons why because I’ve really thought about this, you know, because I am a little bit entrepreneurial, but it’s the big problem in criminal law is that if you’re successful, your client does not come back to you. But you know, in so many other fields of law, like if you draft a good contract, you know, you’re gonna have clients coming back to you to draft another contract. If you’re advising people in real estate, they make a good real estate deal. They’re gonna come back to you for the next real estate deal. If you do your job in criminal law, your client is out of the system. You don’t want them to keep getting rearrested and coming back and rehiring you. Right, right, exactly. And then the other thing that I would say about criminal law is, it’s a great endeavor to be in. But it’s very difficult to break into without having had some experience in a DA like Defender’s Office. So I think that trying to make that connection into one of those offices is really critical. If you want to get involved in criminal defense.



Kelly Bagla

Fantastic advice. If you had to do it all over again, and I asked my guests, each and every one of them this exact same question, If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?



Louis Goodman

I’m not sure I would have been as Cavalier as I was about leaving the district attorney’s office. I was in my early 30s. I’d been there almost 10 years and one level or another. I don’t know. I just wanted to get out. It was a great job. I love the job. I was treated extremely well there. But also, I wanted to go live in Hawaii, I wanted to go windsurfing. I wasn’t married, as I am now. And I really was just in a position to do what I wanted. So I left sort of knowing that I would land on my feet, because I’ve always landed on my feet. And that’s true. I did, and I have and I will. But I think that in retrospect, I could have worked around the things that I wanted to do and work them into the job in the District Attorney’s Office, which came with, you know, a fantastic retirement plan, a fantastic health plan, and all those kinds of things. And I, you know, at the time in my early 30s, I just, I just wasn’t particularly interested in thinking about those things. To their credit, I think that people in their early 30s now really do think about that stuff a lot more than I did.



Kelly Bagla

Right? Yes. And at that age, none of that’s appealing by but what is appealing is oh, I get to go surfing, I get to go travel and certain things like that. But the world is evolving. And the next generation of lawyers are going to be completely different from you and I and in fact. I will be interviewing my legal assistant here very shortly. Her name is Shannon McCracken, such a smart, incredible young lady. And now Lily, she is one of those like us. She’s born to be a lawyer. I’m happy to introduce you to her. She’s gonna be she’s applying to law school as we speak. Oh, sure, from her perspective, you know, the next generation of lawyers, it says I’d love to sort of hear her important and get her sort of take on how she thinks the law may or may not evolve, and how lawyers, her generation are going to do things differently from yours and mine. But that will that’ll be an interesting interview. I’m excited about that one. I want to thank you so much, Louis, for being on the show. We are going to put your information on our show notes so anyone can reach out to you directly. But what would be a quick and easy way for them to reach out to you.



Louis Goodman

Go to my website, www.louisgoodman.com. And it’s louisgoodman.com.



Kelly Bagla

Fantastic. And where can they listen to your podcast?



Louis Goodman

You can find it on any podcast app and it is Love Thy Lawyer like Love Thy Neighbor, Love Thy Lawyer.



Kelly Bagla

That’s usually the first exam and I’m a public speaker. The first thing I usually say to the audience is Raise your hands if you love your lawyer and there’s not one that goes up except for the ones that know me. Oh yeah, we do. It’s funny but thank you again, Louis. So much for being a fantastic guest of the show.



Louis Goodman

Well it’s been a pleasure to be here. Thanks so much for having me.



Kelly Bagla

Absolutely. My pleasure. And my legal friends out there you know we are always here for you definitely check out GoLegalYourself.com It’s a do it yourself Legal protection company get the right documents so you can start a solid legal business by yourself and see that and do definitely go to Go Legal Yourself Podcast.com. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can absolutely submit your application directly from the website. I am attorney Kelly Bagla, The Queen of Business Law, and it’s been my pleasure being your host. Until next time Cheers to Your Success.


Louis Goodman Interviewed by Kelly Bagla

Louis Goodman

Louis Goodman

Louis J. Goodman is a former Deputy District Attorney and experienced Alameda County Criminal Defense Lawyer, and can help you understand and exercise your Constitutional Rights.

Follow Louis on:

More Posts

Attorney and Client shaking hands in office

Bail for DUI

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it’s important to know how much your bail is. Bail is a fee that you

Send Us A Message