A native of the county, she shares language and communication cues with high school students | Wbactive

There might not be many people who in first grade decide what they want to do when they grow up and then go ahead and do just that.

Michael Brewer belongs to this minority.

As a first grader, he wanted to be a lawyer, specifically criminal defense. His mother, who worked for 34 years in child support enforcement for the Jackson County Attorney’s Office, inspired him to become a defense attorney, and he has always respected the work of his uncle, who is a criminal defense attorney.

“It was pretty built in,” Brewer said. “I wanted to be in court, not at a desk.”

After graduating from Brownstown Central High School in 2004, he earned a Bachelor of Accounting and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Financial Analysis from Indiana University through a dual program in 2009 and then a Juris Doctor from the University of Oregon in 2012.

He and his wife then moved back to Bloomington to study for and passed the bar exam together, and he was sworn in to practice law on October 15, 2012.

Brewer practiced criminal defense and family law in a private practice in Terre Haute for seven years and also became a public defender in 2014.

His wife, who is a law professor, got a job at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, and while Brewer lived there for two years he worked as a federal defender.

His wife then ended up as a law professor at IU, and he opened his own practice, Brewer Law Firm PC, in Indianapolis and remained a criminal defense attorney.

Even while pursuing his dream, Brewer kept in touch with one of his high school teachers, Tim Perry.

Perry now teaches at Seymour High School, and when it came time for students to provide oral translation in his advanced language and communication classes, he thought it would be beneficial to drop by Brewer.

He was excited when Brewer agreed to do it.

“Just the fact that it’s different and (the students) know it’s a break for them is a nice change for them too,” Perry said. “Each time it’s different for my students to experience this with a different voice, of course since he’s from here it’s huge.”

Brewer said he would like to do this for Perry because he and other high school teachers provided him with a lot of help and resources.

“If I asked him anything, he would do it for me,” Brewer said. “People were willing to help me. People were willing to cultivate relationships and networks. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t network and maintain a relationship with Mr. Perry.”

Students will also give persuasive speeches, so Brewer fits that theme as well.

As a criminal defense attorney, he must be able to convince his clients to do the right thing.

“Right may not be right for the world, but right for them,” he said. “You have to be able to communicate effectively with them, to persuade them, because that’s ultimately your job.”

While giving a speech or just communicating with others, Brewer said the most important thing is to be yourself.

“I’m always myself in jury trials. I’m always myself in court,” he said. “I went from state practice, which are only elected judges, to federal court, which are presidential-appointed judges. I was told by my bosses, “You have to be formal. You have to be on the podium. You have to do all these things.” I said no. I’ll follow the rules, but I’ll be myself.’

“People can see you when you’re not yourself and they won’t listen to you because you’re fake, and nobody likes fake people,” he said.

In jury trials, Brewer said he often sang in the middle of his graduation and has never lost a case as a result. It allows him to read the audience.

“That’s #2, you know who you’re talking to,” he said while offering further advice. “People understand that when you do that, you are yourself, and that resonates. It is because you are able to communicate effectively.”

The third important thing is to have a theme and a theory. He gave an example of a case in Oklahoma where he represented a woman charged with attempted murder after she shot and killed a woman who was a member of a gang. She claimed it was self-defense, so it was Brewer’s job to convince the jury to believe that.

From jury selection to opening speech to closing, he did just that. He said he was convincing from the start.

“You build that appreciation from the start,” Brewer said. “It’s the same as giving a written speech or communicating with your boss or teaching a class. You want to explain a little what you want to show.”

It is also critical for Brewer to develop a relationship with his clients and communicate their likely outcome to them, prepare witnesses for effective testimony and communication, and also communicate with prosecutors for possible resolutions.

“To determine the risk and reward for your customer, you have to be persuasive. Nobody wants to be in jail or jail,” Brewer said.

In opening remarks and when questioning witnesses, he said he continued to be persuasive.

“It’s not just this witness who’s listening to your question. It’s also the 12 judges who want to listen to you and believe you, so it’s important to be yourself, to be yourself, to get people to listen to you,” he said.

Brewer said the conclusion is the most important part of a jury trial because he can frame evidence appropriately and visuals really come into play.

“You don’t want the prosecutor to interpret that for you. They want to interpret it for (the jury),” he said.

Then he hopes the jury will rule in his client’s favour. In the Oklahoma case, his client was acquitted of the charges after a four-day trial and a two-hour jury deliberation.

By communicating and persuading effectively, Brewer fulfilled his task of representing the innocent and misunderstood.

“Close the circle,” he said. “I think that’s a big thing, communication should complete the story.”

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