Sarah G. Swain
I have, for as long as I can remember, questioned the fairness of our justice system. My questioning stems from a personal experience with my own family. I saw my father, a war hero, disabled because of his service to this country during the Vietnam War. But that same country he fought for did not see it like that.
In fact, the U.S. government and the Veteran’s Administration took advantage of my father (along with many, many other veterans) and twisted the system to prevent him from getting representation for his disability benefits, which were his rights. What my father taught me, as he struggled against a seemingly unbeatable opponent, was to defy all odds to achieve the results you believe in. He eventually beat the system by representing himself and won. This invaluable lesson and a tough childhood fueled my passion for seeking social justice. It instilled inside me a burning desire to defend those under my charge who don’t have anyone else to turn to.
After a childhood of poverty, I was accepted into a small private college in Baldwin City, Kansas, and given a nearly full-ride scholarship, based on my academic achievements and background. I graduated from Baker University four years later in 1998 with an undergraduate degree in political science. The following year I started my legal training at the University of Kansas School of Law. I graduated from law school and passed the bar exam in 2001. Just weeks later, I started my first job as an attorney. I was hired by the Johnson County Public Defender’s Office, diving right into felony cases my first day on the job. My boss and mentor Byron Cerillo, the chief public defender at that office, was an incredible inspiration. He showed me how to be a zealous defender, even of the cases no one else wanted to touch. In fact, Byron often sought out the most difficult cases and relished the opportunity to passionately advocate for the defendants who society and the criminal justice system were happy to quickly discard.
In his position as my mentor, Byron instilled in me a powerful sense that no matter how grisly and horrible the facts are, every person deserves an attorney who has the passion to give each case their all. If the prosecutor is determined to put the accused behind bars, I, as the defense attorney, have to be just as aggressive and match that intensity to successfully defend my clients, who I am responsible for.
That’s my philosophy and I’ve let it guide me ever since I started my own practice in 2003. From high-profile cases to misdemeanors, this is the undying attitude I adopt when I tackle each case that comes my way. When someone talks to me for the first time, they immediately know what kind of attorney I am (a pitbull) and what I’m like (totally committed). My confidence in my work injects a high level of confidence in my clients, and it assures them that I will explore every avenue and resource available to have their case dismissed or charges dropped. We cannot give what we do not have. It’s about transferring confidence and faith, and that’s what I give my clients.
My firm belief is that a lawyer belongs to the people. We are here to work for the client. They are our boss, not the other way around. Too many attorneys forget this important fact. A client deserves our full attention and commitment. I treat my clients the way I would want to be treated; with respect and by someone who gives straightforward, honest answers. No relationship can work without trust, whether it’s marriage, family, or business. An attorney-client relationship is no different. When you are represented by the Swain Law Office, you become part of the family. We give our clients the level of defense, dedication, effort, and zeal that we would give if we were representing our own family member. My job is to make sure your rights are protected to their fullest. You want results and I will stand by my reputation and fight for those results with the passion that you deserve.