MICHAEL A. MOON, Founding Principal and Director, Moon Rozier Legal Professional Corporation "A
In 1820 George IV was crowned King of the United Kingdom and Hanover. At that time in history, the King was thought of as God’s representative on earth. King George vowed his wife Caroline would never be Queen and petitioned for divorce, alleging Caroline was a bigamist – an allegation which, if proved true, would have resulted in Caroline’s execution. Caroline refused to be cowed, and retained Lord Henry Brougham to defend her against the King’s ‘trumped up’ charges.
When Lord Brougham agreed to represent the Queen, he knew, as did the King, that His Majesty was himself a bigamist. To publicly expose this would be ruinous to the Crown, as the Keeper of the Faith; and to the King’s relationship with his subjects. Nonetheless, Lord Brougham understood that to save Queen Caroline, he would have to argue against the King, and by extension, God; and that a positive result for the Queen, could have negative implications for the whole country. Lord Brougham saw the Advocate’s role as a sacred duty, and famously described to the presiding Judges, the level of single mindedness he was prepared to undertake.
“…The Advocate, in the discharge of his duty, knows but one person in all the world, and that person is his Client. To save that Client by all means and expedients, and at all hazards and costs to other persons, and, amongst them to himself, is his first and only duty.” King George recognized that Lord Broughman’s defence of his Client was a muted threat to expose his Majesty’s failings, and quietly dropped his case against Queen Caroline.
As it was then, so it is now – that same single-minded focus to the Client is the raison d'être behind the firm of Moon Rozier LPC. To drive home the traits of fearlessness in the defence of their Clients, the firm’s Founding Principal and Director, Michael A. Moon, has added to Lord Brougham’s timeless bromide: “The true Advocate must be prepared to impugn Society’s most cherished institutions and its most hallowed beliefs; all the while knowing that, if successful, his beloved Country may fail — thereafter to dissolve irreparably into Chaos and Anarchy. Such then is the solemn role of the Advocate. Yet, if he be timid or fearful in the exercise of the full scope of this terrible duty, then he should not accept the privilege of defending the man whose life is given to him to preserve.”
This inspirational language is both the Mission Statement and defines the DNA of Moon Rozier LLP – a willingness to do whatever is necessary to advance the Client’s interests, damn the consequences to others – bound only by the law and the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Moon Rozier is a boutique criminal and constitutional law firm focusing on Clients charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or that have been charged with a Federal or Provincial Regulatory offence.
To properly serve Clients involves more than the willingness to work tirelessly on their behalf. It requires resources and the staff capable of handling everything that arises from, and that is corollary to, the original criminal matter. Moon Rozier refers to this as a “full envelope of services.”
For example, a criminal offence for a domestic assault may have a Family Law component or there may be immigration consequences. Or, a Client may have suffered harm at the hands of the police (or the State writ large) when being arrested or while being detained. Moon Rozier has the staff and the resources to assist their Clients in all of these areas.
The firm also has access to private investigators, and various experts including fingerprint analysis, handwriting analysis, forensic psychiatry, neuro-pathology and medical experts to testify on issues relating to the cause and extent of injuries etc. These are all necessary components to a fully equipped defence team.
Like Lord Brougham, there is only one person in the Courtroom that matters to the Moon Rozier barristers, and that person is the Client. “There is no case you can’t win. You just have to know how to study the Crown’s case to determine how to unravel the Gordian knot,” Michael Moon says.
Michael wins more than he loses and has represented Clients at all levels of Courts, from the Ontario Court of Justice to the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also acted as Counsel on some of the lengthiest and most complex trials in recent history, including the 'Bandidos' mass murder trial in London, Ontario, and the 'Toronto 18' terrorist trial in Brampton, Ontario.
“My practice is what is known as a long-trial practice, and at this stage of my career, is almost exclusively homicides. Often, when my colleagues see me at a courthouse, wherever it may be, the most common question they ask me is, ‘Who’s dead?” Michael says.
“I accept cases based on what’s intriguing about them, or if there is a deeper criminal issue or an overarching public policy concern. I am not necessarily working with the law as it is, but as it should be,” Michael adds.
“Lawyers have tremendous power to effect social change if the case presents itself, and they are prepared to do whatever is necessary to assist their Client. It was because of defence lawyers challenging the law on behalf of Dr. Morgentaler that the abortion laws were struck down; and it was defence lawyers who exposed Dr. Charles Smith as the charlatan he truly was,” he says.
“People may make jokes about lawyers, they may loathe us at times for what we do, but if their world goes to hell in a hand-basket, we are the ones they call. They do this because when Moon Rozier goes into Court, they know that we have their backs – come what may. Just like Lord Broughman, who was willing to risk everything, we are our Clients’ Advocate.”
For those who frequent the Brampton courthouse, it quickly becomes obvious that Michael is a free-standing legal resource, as he is approached numerous times each day by lawyers, especially new calls, seeking both legal and tactical input on a case or issue they are facing. As well, he is a frequent panelist at the Peel Law Association 'Continuing Legal Education' seminars.
Also, for the past three years Michael and his Senior Associate, Nicole Rozier have conducted a popular and widely acclaimed CPD course stretching out over five weeks, addressing many of the legal and tactical issues counsel will face at trial.
“Our clients are not necessarily bad people, most of them may have simply done something foolish or impulsively on a particular day; or, for reasons of race or creed, they were the subject of increased attention by the police and ended up being charged with something,” Michael says.
“While one can empathize with the Client, counsel cannot be moved by sympathy, or we wouldn’t be as effective as we are. One of the things I teach is that we are there to protect, not necessarily to care. Even in a murder case, we still can’t afford to emotionally invest in the people involved, because if we do, we may not be able to make the hard decisions. A lot of lawyers won’t take murder cases because they don’t know how to put distance between themselves, the victim and the Client,” Michael adds.
“All of our barristers are blunt to a fault. We do not downplay the case to our Clients. We tell them what we are going to do. We also tell them what we expect them to do. It is cause for a smile when, upon reviewing the video interrogation of a Client I hear him or her say, ‘I’m sorry, but my lawyer has made it clear to me that I am not to talk with you at all. In fact, they will be upset just seeing me confirm my name and address to you, so I really have nothing more to say.”
Michael is ably assisted by a team of four barristers – Nicole Rozier, Ekaterina Perchenok, Leah Gensey and Samer Ghazala. “We all have exceptional chemistry and excellent working relationships with each other and with the specialty resources we need,” Michael says.
Personalized service is especially important to the firm - every Client has 24/7 access to the lawyer working on the file. “We see our role as doing whatever we can, within the bounds of the Law and the Rules of Professional Conduct, to secure a positive resolution to the charges faced by our Client,” Michael says.
Preparation and passion are two other key drivers. “Every one of us is really passionate about the work that we do. We also all hate bullies. This makes it easy to do what we do every day. But, to be clear, our passion is always tempered by intellectual rigour. None of us has ever gone to court without being prepared, even if that means cross examining a witness for days. I am particularly proud when a judge tells me that we are too thorough,” Michael adds with a smile.
The criminal lawyer has chosen to walk a lonely road. But, if what Theodore Roosevelt says is true, there is glory in a hard-fought battle. “…The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms…and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides Category
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