From bartending to helping clients avoid Operating While Intoxicated convictions, Christopher Ehrfurth has found success because of his ability to sympathize and communicate with people.
Ehrfurth works at Kuchler & Cotton, where his primary specialties are criminal-defense and family law. He has defended clients in cases involving bank robbery, tax evasion, disorderly conduct and homicide.
When nominating him, Donna Kuchler, an attorney at Kuchler & Cotton, was quick to mention Ehrfurth’s personality.
“His clients love him,” she wrote.
Ehrfurth, who worked for a bit as a bartender while in school, said that friendliness and amiability are traits that are of great benefit in the legal profession.
“If you’re going to be able to negotiate with people for someone … and do it effectively, you have to be willing to take those steps in being social and outgoing to an extent,” he said. “You have to know how to talk to people in a way that they can relate to you and relate to your clients and their situation.”
Also important is having the ability to understand where clients are coming from.
“I find something I can sort of relate to in all my clients,” he said. “You’re dealing with people who are facing the most difficult time in their life where it’s hard to find people who will remain their friend (or) who will stand by them.”
In essence, said Ehrfurth, these people are the underdogs. If you don’t believe that, he says, just look at the money they’re spending on their own defense and compare it with the resources marshalled on the other side for things like law enforcement and prosecution.
And who, he said, doesn’t love a good underdog story?
Recalling his time at Marquette University Law School, Ehrfurth said he was asked during an on-campus interview about how his bartending experience might help become a good lawyer.
“You have to be able to talk to people and be able to make them understand your position,” he recalled saying to the interviewer.
The interviewer’s response? He told Ehrfurth that the jury wasn’t going to be drunk.
Ehrfurth is also a member of the Evidence-Based Decision Making Case Processing Work Group, a group whose members include the Waukesha County district attorney, the clerk of courts and various administrators and law-enforcement personnel. The group’s main goal is to find ways to process criminal cases more efficiently.
Ehrfurth said one reason he is involved is his belief that if cases are run more efficiently, defendants will be less likely to have to miss work or school.
“I look at the group as an opportunity to try to, sort of, advance efficiency when it comes to the ways that it (a case) affects your clients,” he said.