Attorney at Law Magazine Palm Beach Publisher Rhenne Leon sat down with Devika Carr to discuss her career and the impact technology is having on the industry.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Carr: I didn’t aspire to enter the professional legal community until I was confronted with the privileged decision of deciding between law school and a doctoral program. However, I appreciate innovative thinking especially when it centers around serving the communities who need bright line thinkers and passionate leaders, and I believed a law degree had more opportunities to shape me into an innovative thinker this way. So, I entered law school on faith, assuming that if I was accepted, that was the path meant for me. The beautiful honor of being an attorney is the ability to always serve members of your community and the power to improve the lives of many. Ultimately, the opportunities to do this are endless as a lawyer because the autonomy of this profession is profound.
AALM: What drew you to your current firm? How would you describe the culture there? How would you describe your role within the firm?
Carr: After honorably serving my community as an assistant public defender for two years, I recognized a need in the community for an advocate who had a preventative approach to addressing legal issues and a passion for individualized attention to the pain points people often experience when they are confronted with a legal challenge. So, I created D. Carr Law, a firm dedicated to defending people when criminal arrests or charges threaten to destroy their bright futures or reputations. The culture of my firm is to educate and empower community members. My role as the owner and innovator behind this preventative approach requires I find unique ways to gain access to community audiences so I may show them the magnitude of all they have to protect, why legal challenges threaten to destroy those values, how understanding the law can reduce the risk of ever facing a legal challenge, and what to do if a legal challenge does affect their lives.
AALM: Where do you see your career going? Partner track? Going solo? A corporate job? The bench or a position as a government attorney?
Carr: I see myself expanding my law firm by recruiting employees who share D. Carr Law’s mission to improve people’s lives and creatively reach community audiences. I would also enjoy developing educational initiatives that would educate our rising leaders on the risks associated with legal challenges and the importance of developing positive and meaningful relationships and implementing them under the umbrella of high school diversity programs and undergraduate student affairs programs.
AALM: Of the cases you’ve worked on or witnessed, what has stood out most in your mind? A particularly difficult case? A tactic or demeanor from one of the involved attorneys? The client?
Carr: Early on in my two-year commitment as a public defender, I was designated as standby co-counsel for an individual representing himself during a misdemeanor criminal trial. My role was to answer any questions he raised regarding his understanding of the law, but without providing legal advice. He was found not guilty and I recall taking a photograph with him afterwards, with him smiling from ear-toear. He was incredibly grateful for us, but he seemed unbothered by being unrepresented. It was a profound experience because it has always served as a reminder of how little our community members know and understand the legal process and justice system. I believe if people understood how quickly legal challenges can negatively affect a person’s legacy and future aspirations, they might see a need to improve upon their misunderstandings and act preventatively. The lack of basic understanding is unfortunate for many, but not impossible to cure.
AALM: With technology and an ever-global world, how do you see the legal profession evolving over your career? Do you believe this will be positive or negative?
Carr: Technology is creating a positive opportunity for the development of innovative business models and strategies to reach more people, efficiently and effectively. The legal profession promotes its members to maintain substantial and meaningful contact with clients, judicial representatives, and court personnel. The challenge is in finding the communication methods that are most valued by the types of clients we serve. If you want to show potential clients how much you care, you have to consider what methods of caring they appreciate, and advanced technology can help do that. So it shouldn’t be feared, but welcomed with excitement.
AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies? Sports?
Carr: I enjoy the most important aspects of my life that inspire me. This includes being a mother, wife, daughter, writer, and artist. I use these various aspects to channel energy and emotions to act creatively.