Robert Botnick has helped guide clients who have never been involved in the criminal justice system as a criminal and traffic defense attorney and founder of The Botnick Law Firm, LLC in Shaker Heights since 2012.
“It’s helping people,” Botnick said. “I think it’s really important to lay out all of the information for the client so that way, when it comes time to making an important decision, they know why it is that they’re the ones who are making the decision.”
Botnick’s firm, which also specializes in criminal DUI traffic defense, is unique because of his background as a Cuyahoga County prosecutor, a role he held for seven years. He said he knows his clients appreciate his ability to think like a prosecutor.
“I can tell a client, ‘Here’s exactly what the prosecutor is going to say in a closing argument’ or ‘Here’s what they’re going to be looking for to try to make the case.’ So we need to try to figure out how to find the holes in their case,” Botnick said.
Botnick said because he defends so many young people, he doesn’t want to see young people get into trouble. He became a role model outside of his law career when he started coaching his son’s youth baseball team about six years ago.
“Not every family is the same, and we know that,” he said. “But if you can be a person who is there, that a child can look up to, they can feel comfortable confiding in, I think that’s important. I think as long as there is structure, if kids feel that there are people out there who care about them, then hopefully they don’t turn to some of the things that I do see. I do see some ugly stuff, so I try to do that.”
Botnick is also on the education committee at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike, where he helps to determine the direction of education, especially for students attending Jewish day schools and not religious school programming on the weekend.
“I think it’s an interesting time to be part of the Jewish community in Cleveland, to figure out how you can have a secular life, but also have a religious education as well,” he said.
Botnick emphasizes there are successful days he loves, as well as unhappy endings to cases. In the past year, he had one client sentenced to 30 years in prison and another client who received a fine and probation for one year with no felony on his record.
“Sometimes, it can stay with you, that’s for sure. But, it also gives you that insight so the next time that you have a client who’s in a similar situation, one, you have an idea of what you’re facing,” Botnick said of cases that end unfavorably. “You have to know that at the end of the day you tried your hardest, you never gave up.”
Marissa Nichol is a freelance writer.