A criminal prosecution is typically based solely on police reports and any background checks the District Attorney may conduct. What is often left out is the “human story” behind a particular case. Police do a great job of writing about the bad in a given investigation and fail to present any personal information about the accused which may tend to “humanize” the case and be favorable to the outcome of the matter.
To be effective representing our client’s interests, we would like to know as much about our client as possible. To that end, we request our clients prepare a “social history”. We need to know where they were born, went to school, their occupational background and any ramifications a conviction will cause to their current or prospective job, something about their family, religious affiliations, any military service, charitable organizations they belong to, any awards or commendations they may have obtained, prior criminal history and anything else they can tell us about themselves that will enable us to know them better. My firm would also need to know if they have any prior or current medical condition or mental illness. The social history allows us to better know our client and thus give our attorneys more credibility in court when we can demonstrate our knowledge of our client’s background.
Many people may also have a professional Resume that they have used for employment, if so, include this along with the social history.