J. Scott Weisman '90: Defending Those Who Need It Most
As a criminal defense lawyer, Scott Weisman’s job isn’t easy. Although he has represented some difficult clients, the Columbus criminal defense attorney continues to provide the best representation possible for each one. He stands up for his clients even after incidents that, for most, would make it difficult to continue. His professionalism in handling a case that garnered widespread media coverage last year earned him the Columbus Bar Association’s Award of Merit.
Scott’s client, who was later convicted of a series of armed robberies, had a history of bad behavior in and out of court. He once threw a punch that knocked out his court-appointed attorney and required eight stitches, according to Scott. While many lawyers would have been wary to take the case, Scott graciously accepted it. He even reached into his own pocket to buy his client clothes and shoes for the pending trial.
In September 2007, after attempting to delay the trial, Scott’s client attacked him in the courtroom from a wheelchair, kicking him with the same shoes that were a gift from Scott. Court security officers apprehended the man, and he returned to court a short time later secured to his wheelchair. A video of the incident is available here.
Scott was honored for his willingness to take on less-than-desirable cases like this one. His dedication to serve clients’ interests and his poise in difficult situations make him an exceptional attorney. “If I can’t defend a client like this as a criminal defense attorney, then I shouldn’t be doing it for anyone,” he said. “It’s not my place to pass judgment on my clients … only to analyze the evidence and insure there rights are protected.”
Scott has several passions that he is either currently or one day hopes to pursue. One such passion is defending the right to privacy and making sure that the public is not intimidated by government intrusion. “There has been a watering down of these rights, and I think that the courts should restore them,” Scott said. Supporting institutions that offer alternatives to incarceration is also important to Scott, and he serves on the board of both the Alvis House, an Ohio-based group that helps reintegrate offenders into communities, and the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility. “Many offenders don’t have the skills to lead productive lives in society,” he said. “These organizations do an excellent job teaching them those skills and provide access to employment opportunities. They influence ongoing positive life choices.” He also provides free assistance to people through the Access to Justice Program with the Columbus Bar Association.
Prior to starting his own private practice in Columbus, Scott worked for the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office for 15 years. Scott originally became interested in public defense while at Ohio State. And he said that lessons he learned at Ohio State continue to have their benefits. “The way that I learned to think and analyze situations would have helped me no matter what career path I chose,” he said. “Professors like Doug Whaley and Lou Jacobs kept me interested in the law and wanting to learn more.”
Scott plans to keep improving his practice and the level of service he provides to his clients. Undoubtedly, this will include more of the outstanding quality of work that was recognized by the Columbus Bar Association this spring.
To read more about Scott and his practice, visit www.jsweismanlaw.com/