Richard G. Lubin:
Defending the Constitution
Richard G. Lubin is a passionate defender of the United States Constitution. “If you look at a person accused of a crime in Iran, Cuba or North Korea, you realize they simply have no chance.” says Lubin. “In our country, people are innocent unless and until proven guilty. Protecting the individual rights of our citizens is one of the foundations of our society.”
Board certified in criminal trial law, Lubin has successfully defended doctors, lawyers, corporate executives, professional athletes, educators and other clients throughout the country. “Richard is a brilliant attorney,” says former client Dipnarine Maharaj, M.D., a Palm Beach County hematologist. “He is meticulous in the way he works, and very detail oriented. He is also an excellent speaker who can take a complex subject, break it down and explain things in court.”
At Richard G. Lubin, P.A., in West Palm Beach, Lubin leads a team that includes three other attorneys whose cases range from complex white collar matters such as healthcare, securities and tax fraud, to homicide, narcotics violations and sex offenses. “I am the quarterback of our team, and we all work together on every case,” says Lubin. “When people are in trouble, they look for hands-on representation. That’s why dedicated criminal law firms like ours are relatively small.”
Activist to Attorney
Born in New York, Lubin graduated from Boston University in 1970, after serving as president of the student body during his senior year. “That was during the height of the Vietnam war, and I was already a social activist determined to protect our constitutional rights,” he says. From Boston, Lubin went to Georgetown Law School, where he earned his juris doctor in 1974. “By then, the war was winding down, and I decided to become a criminal defense lawyer,” he says. “That was a natural progression for me.”
Lubin joined the public defender’s office in West Palm Beach, where he “learned the trade” under the mentorship of Palm Beach County Public Defender George B. Barrs. “He helped me understand what trials are really about,” Lubin recalls. “It’s really about reaching their emotions and feelings, and explaining the case in a way that makes sense to the jury.”
After two years, Lubin joined a small West Palm Beach firm, handling trial work, including civil matters, divorces and personal injury cases, while building a criminal practice. In 1980, he opened his own firm in partnership with Nancy Hamill, formerly with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. However, she died of cancer in their first year of practice.
Through the decades, Lubin has built a full-service defense firm that handles both federal and state criminal cases. “At any one time, we will have two or three murder cases pending, along with clients who have been accused of various types of fraud,” Lubin says. “Today, there is a major push by the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate healthcare and securities cases. Those matters tend to be very more document intensive because you have to really drill down deeply into the allegations.”
Known as a pioneer in the use of trial consultants and focus groups, Lubin says there is a “huge amount of preparation” in every case. “That intense pre-trial work can lead to cases being dismissed or settled,” he says. “What you see in court is really the tip of the iceberg. I love being able to stand up in a trial to cross-examine the main witness, but it’s always better to win the case before you go into court.”
When digging into his cases, Lubin has found incorrect statements or identifications by supposed witnesses to a crime, statements that were signed under coercion and information that was withheld by the prosecution. “We always have to remember that an arrest is one thing, but a conviction requires clear proof, because sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be,” he says.
Lubin adds that trial studies have shown that coerced confessions to a crime, mistaken identifications and incorrect expert witness testimony are three main causes for false convictions. “If you don’t have that right to a criminal defense attorney who will provide more than lip service to your case, the result can be that an innocent person will go to prison,” Lubin says. “I always ask jurors which would be worse: for an innocent person to be convicted or for a guilty person to be found not guilty. After some discussion, they almost always say convicting an innocent person. To be sure that doesn’t happen, we need to maintain our vigilance and continue to fight for our constitutional rights.”
Lubin’s success as a defense lawyer has been recognized on a national level. He is a former president of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers and former board member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. For many years, he served on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College, which teaches trial skills to criminal lawyers. He has lectured around the country on topics like opening statements, cross examination of expert witnesses and closing arguments.
“I haven’t done as much teaching in recent years, but I will always be a public defender at heart,” Lubin says. “To me, there is nothing more important than understanding how to defend clients and protect their rights in court.”
Locally, Lubin served as president of the Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society for 13 years, and was president of the Palm Beach Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and chairman of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission.
When not working on his cases, Lubin enjoys playing golf and recently joined a senior softball league. Lubin’s son Ben is a former U.S. Marine captain who now owns a wine bar in West Palm Beach. He and his wife Kathy also have a 15-year-old son Justin, now in high school.
After almost 40 years as a criminal defense lawyer, Lubin still feels passionate about his work. “I love working with my team to help ensure that our clients receive a fair trial,” he says. “Defending someone accused of a serious crime is not a part-time job. It takes your heart and your soul to do it the right way.”
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