Up Close with Criminal Defense Lawyer Jay Norton
When you’re facing something as terrifying as jail time, you want someone on your side who knows the system. Jay S. Norton began his legal career in Bexar County in 1985. Nearly 35 years later, he continues to defend people in and around Bexar County during some of the toughest times of their lives.
Fresh out of law school, Norton joined Bexar County Legal Aid, an organization that provides legal clinics and low-cost legal services to people who can’t afford a lawyer. From there, he moved to the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, where he served as an assistant district attorney for many years.
After a stint in private practice, where he served as partner at a criminal law firm, Norton returned to the DA’s office when voters elected Nico LaHood to the top spot in 2014. When LaHood decided to open his own firm, Norton joined him as a founding attorney.
Norton, LaHood, and the rest of the LaHood Norton team have represented thousands of clients in and out of the courtroom. LaHood Norton defends both , including assault, DWI, conspiracy, theft, and drug charges. They have secured favorable verdicts and dismissals for clients by working with integrity, honesty, and bulldog determination.
Norton took a rare break recently to talk about how he got started in criminal law and the challenges he faces daily.
When did you know you wanted to be a lawyer?
My father and grandfather were both lawyers. I knew at an early age I wanted to be like them.
What sort of education did you have?
After I graduated from Churchill High School in San Antonio, I stayed local and attended St. Mary’s University, where I got a BA in political science. I stayed at St. Mary’s to pursue my law degree, and was admitted to the bar in 1985.
Why did you decide to go into criminal law?
After law school, I was working at Bexar County Legal Aid doing primary family law (which handles matters like divorce and child custody). I was asked to interview with the Bexar County District Attorney’s office under the new DA at the time, Fred Rodriguez. As a prosecutor, I worked on all types of cases, from simple misdemeanors to serious felonies, and got good results for the County. That experience helps me even today when I defend clients. I know what strategies prosecutors are most likely going to use.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
I like many things about what I do, but what’s most gratifying is being able to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
What challenges do you face in criminal law?
Every case is different. Finding the right approach for a particular situation takes strategic, critical thinking. We also interact with many different personalities. The ability to keep a cool head is important.
How do you maintain work-life balance?
I love what I do, so it never feels like “work,” but I never bring it 36棋牌. Sure, sometimes I have to work late in the evening or on weekends, but when I’m 36棋牌, it’s 100 percent family time.
How important are professional relationships at a firm like LaHood Norton?
Professional relationships have been so important for us in establishing a reputation as tough but ethical lawyers who help people in tough situations. We value our relationships with clients, their families, judges, prosecutors, and staff. And our team here at LaHood Norton is great to work with.
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