There are two explanations for why Lea P. Krauss became a lawyer.
“My father always liked to say that I have a big mouth and I should get paid for it,” says Krauss. “I like to say that I had a calling, a sense of justice, a sense of right from wrong and always enjoyed playing devil’s advocate.”
Krauss is a criminal defense attorney with her own practice in downtown Fort Lauderdale. She has represented clients ranging in age from 12 to 88, and specializes in a variety of felony and misdemeanor cases, including DUI, domestic violence, drug crimes, assault and battery, juvenile law, theft, probation and parole violations, driver’s license suspensions, and weapons charges.
“I’ve always enjoyed criminal law, from studies as far back as high school, but focused on studies in psychology and criminology in college,” says Krauss. “The psychology background is great, especially for jury selection, as well as in everyday life for understanding people.”
Growing up, the Long Island native came to South Florida several times a year on family trips, and fell in love with the area.
“I always knew and felt that Florida was home,” says Krauss. “It’s the cliché—the New York Jew coming to Boca, Fort Lauderdale or Miami for vacation. Every time I had to leave, I would say to myself, one day, I will live here. It feels like paradise. I literally am living my dream.”
Krauss earned her law degree from the University of Miami and never left Florida. Her parents moved to South Florida a year later. She became a prosecutor for at the State Attorney’s office in Broward County, a job she held for three years. She switched to civil litigation and worked for a large firm for a while, but felt it was not a good fit. She decided to strike out on her own, and set up her own private practice.
Her experience at the State Attorney’s office has been invaluable.
“As a former prosecutor, I know the inner workings of the office, the procedures, the unspoken policies, and I would hope that all of my experience helps me be a better defense attorney,” Krauss says. “I would not trade my years there for anything.”
While a prosecutor, Krauss trained with drug recognition experts, the highest level of training a police offer can get, in administering scientific field sobriety tests. This training, combined with the coursework she’s done in DUI detection and litigation, gives Krauss an edge over other attorneys and aids her in defending clients charged with DUI.
In addition to her practice, Krauss is cochair of the Gay & Lesbian Lawyers Network, a social network in which gay, lesbian and gay friendly lawyers can develop their practices through friendships, referral relationships and professional development. The group is also involved in outreach, working with Lambda United, a legal club at Nova University, on panel discussions and seminars called Out in Practice. The discussions involve concerns unique to GLBT students, such as whether or not being out at a law firm can hurt a young lawyer’s career or chances of getting a job.
“I think that a lot of employers are aware that there is a benefit to having a gay or lesbian attorney, in that there is an untapped market of potential client that perhaps a straight attorney couldn’t get into,” says Krauss. “My hope is that those employers open their eyes not just to the economic benefit of having a gay or lesbian attorney but that they understand that attorney is no different than any other.”
Krauss shares office space with her partner of seven years, Laura Rhoades, president of RadMed Associates, Inc., a national medical supply, management and consulting company.
“I love sharing space with my partner, and I think the reason it works is that she’s not an attorney,” says Krauss. “We’re both so busy, like ships that pass in the night, that sharing an office gives us the opportunity to actually see each other, have a cup of coffee and have lunch here in the office. She gives me balance. She helps me with a reality check when I get stressed out. I wouldn’t want to have an office with anyone else.”
As a lawyer, Krauss’s favorite time of year is the holidays.
“I get my fair share of thank you notes and cards from clients that continue to update me on how they’re doing,” says Krauss. “So much of what I see is dark, and that’s a very light time of year. I like to see the cards and the photos people send me after they’ve cleaned themselves up and gotten themselves out of the system. That is very gratifying and makes me feel really good about what I do.”
The office of attorney Lea P. Krauss, Esq., P.A., is located at 600 S. Andrews Ave., Suite 406, Fort Lauderdale. She can be reached 24 hours a day at 954-288-7447. For more information, visit http://TheLawDesk.com.