Boulder, CO—For Josh Maximon, a life devoted to the law started with a personal tragedy.
“My dad was a larger than life character, but when I was just ten years old, he died tragically,” Maximon told laws.com in a recent interview. “He died under suspicious circumstances and I felt robbed of my time with him. This was a turning point in my life. It led me to want to do something with my life and fight for justice.”
Maximon, who worked in law offices in London, New York and Denver before starting his own firm, Mann & Maximon, believes that the biggest challenge for trial lawyers today is that they are continually interacting with certain prosecutors and judges who are led by fear. This sometimes prevents judges from honoring people's rights, and as a criminal defense attorney, we have to get prosecutors and judges to recognize the proper limits of the law, including the appropriate recognition of individual rights by law enforcement.”
This is often a particular challenge for new criminal defense attorneys, according to Maximon. “You must have confidence in what you are doing, and don't let a situation or another lawyer or judge intimidate you. Let your preparation and hard work carry through,” he says. “I have witnessed other attorneys in court let the prosecutor and judge intimidates them. I never let anyone buckle me down, and I remain confident in my convictions.”
That confidence led to courtroom victories, which in turn have caused Maximon to win many accolades. Super Lawyers named him a 2013 Super Lawyer in Colorado, and he was named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, as well as a Top 100 Litigation Lawyer by The American Society of Legal Advocates. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He has also lectured for Stanford University on topics relating to international policy.
Now that he runs his own firm, Maximon is able to pick and choose which cases he takes. To do that, he says, “I learn my client’s stories first. I take the time to listen to their case. The need to capture and tell that story motivates me to work on a case. I root for the underdog—people appreciate stories about an underdog.”
Maximon has worked alongside other renowned attorneys, including defense legend Bryan Stevenson, on high profile cases. “I worked with Bryan Stevenson on a case where the defendant was on death row,” Maximon recalls. “It was a juvenile case that was overturned when the Supreme Court changed the law such that juveniles could not be sent to death row.”
One of the biggest decisions for defense attorneys is to recommend whether their clients should accept a plea agreement. “It's a really difficult decision, and a lot of times, it is motivated by how much that person has to lose,” Maximon says. “For example, if you are working on a sex offender case and your client is given an offer that is favorable to them, they have to weigh the risks of potentially losing at trial. The decision is made by the client with a strong recommendation by the lawyer, but a lot of times, it's driven by the draconian consequence of losing.”
Maximon has simple, timeless advice for any would-be attorneys who want an edge in the courtroom: “Work hard. Pay attention to every little detail. Strict preparation is what makes you stand out from the pack.”
Maximon is a Colorado native and lives in Boulder with his family and is a sports fanatic. He played professional soccer in Slovakia and says that having lived outside the US has made it easier for him to relate to people and to have a more complete and compassionate picture of humanity.
To learn more about Josh Maximon and his practice click here.