Introduce Yourself and Your Practice Area. What Is Your Experience in Defending People Who’ve Been Charged for Drug Sales in New Jersey?
I’ve lived in the same South Jersey area my whole life. I went to Bishop Eustace Prep School for high school in Pennsauken, New Jersey. I then went to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where I played football. After William & Mary, I went to Rutgers Law School in Camden. At the time, there were two state law schools: Camden and New York. Camden was ranked among the top law schools in the nation, so I picked Rutgers Camden. One of my third-year courses was an externship at the Camden County prosecutor’s office, and they later awarded me a full-time position there as an assistant prosecutor.
I was with the office from 1990 to 1997, in which time I rotated through different units, including the grand jury unit, the trial team unit, the juvenile unit, and motions and appeals. I also handled certain types of cases while I was there, such as homicide cases, including one of the first cases in South Jersey involving DNA evidence. This was in the early 90s before DNA was widely recognized or even known about by many people; I had to learn about DNA myself and read up on the topic. When it came time to present the homicide with DNA evidence in front of a jury, I invited FBI experts up from Washington to testify. At the time, their FBI lab was the only lab in the country that was able to test these DNA samples. We convicted the individual who committed the murder. (Oddly enough, his 30-year prison sentence should mean he’s eligible for release soon.)
I also worked on certain serial rapist cases. Some of the more significant ones involved multiple local victims. There was one person who would go to bars and befriend women before following them home. He’d knock on their door and ask for help, knowing their guard would be down if they recognized him from earlier at the bar. Once he was inside, he would rape these individuals. He was convicted and died, I believe, in prison.
In 1997, I left the prosecutor’s office and started my own law firm, the Law Offices of Robert Simons, located at 126 White Horse Pike in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. We’re in that same building today, over twenty years later, though we’ve moved floors a couple of times. We’re easy to find. In the mornings, I’m in court, and in the afternoons, I’m usually in the office. People know that I’m available and that, at my office, we do things the right way. We get everything in writing upfront. When you come in for your free consultation, there will be no high-pressure sales pitch. We’ll give you the price upfront so you can go home and talk it over and then get back to us.
We started off practicing just criminal law, but I now have other attorneys in the building who help me and do personal injury law. We also do expungements, municipal court, juvenile law, restraining orders, and a number of cases from DCP&P, but our main focus—and my main focus—is in criminal law. Those are the cases that I handle.
Through the years, I have gained certain awards and acknowledgments. I am a certified criminal trial attorney from the New Jersey Supreme Court. Only the top three percent of lawyers get to achieve that recognition. You have to pass special tests and receive recommendations from judges and even other lawyers you go against (so you basically have to beat someone in court and have them come and recommend you). You can have no ethics complaints. The Supreme Court reserves this criminal certification for a small percentage of lawyers who really know what’s going on and who are at the top of their field.
I’ve been admitted to the United States Supreme Court, meaning I’m eligible to practice anywhere in the United States in district courts and in federal courts. Not many lawyers in this area are admitted in front of the United States Supreme Court. I have also been acknowledged by certain magazines with different awards. I was named in Awesome Attorneys in 2019, 2020, and 2021, which gives local recognition of the top lawyers in the area as judged by their clients and by their peers.
The approach that I take differs from other criminal firms. I take fewer cases than the public defender. They may have 200 cases, and I may only take 20. By taking fewer cases, I aim to be accessible to these people and their families. When people are in jail, it’s their families that you have to deal with; it’s someone’s mother or father or spouse. For the people who are in jail, I make myself accessible. My law firm’s office phone and my cellphone are both set up to take collect calls from all of the jails in this area, and that’s something other attorneys just don’t do. They won’t pay for it; they don’t want to be bothered with that. We pay for the phone calls. We allow them to call from jail whenever they need to.
The other most important thing that I do that other lawyers don’t do is give my cell phone number to every single client. If you can’t reach me in the morning because I’m in court or in the afternoon in the office, you can call me on my cell phone—I’d like to say 24/7, but I do sleep part of the time. If I can, I’ll call right back, within an hour or so and certainly within 24 hours. At my firm, we try to be responsive to people. If you’re in trouble, you want someone who will call you back within the day, who will give you answers, who will acknowledge that you’ve been trying to reach them. The biggest complaint I hear about other law firms is that a client called their lawyer three, four, even five times without getting a call back.
In addition to being accessible, we also try to be obtainable. Most people I deal with are hardworking, normal, middle-class individuals facing important, often life-changing cases that will cost them a decent amount of money. Unlike many other firms, we offer payment plans. We’ll work something out with you based on what you think will fit your budget—how much down and how much you’ll pay every week, every other week, or even every month. You should be able to obtain the best representation, without having to settle for someone with less experience or less prestige in the community because you don’t have the money right then and there.
We’ll be professional. When you come into our office, you will always know that we’ll represent you professionally. We’ll be approachable. A lot of people are intimidated by law firms and by lawyers, and some are even afraid to call a lawyer. If a lawyer’s charging you hourly, you’re getting a bill in the mail each time you talk to him no matter how friendly he sounds on the phone. That’s why 99 percent of our cases are done on a flat-fee basis. You know upfront how much it costs, whether you call me five times or 15 times that week. That makes us more approachable.
When you take fewer cases, you’re able to be more approachable. My parents were both teachers, and with six kids, we didn’t have a ton of money in the family. By using flat fees and making payment plans, you give people an absolute amount of what their case is going to cost upfront in writing and allow them to decide on their own if they can afford this, if it’s something that’s worth the money to them. That’s something that most other attorneys are not doing at this time. They will bill you as they go, without any regard for the total costs.
Those are a couple of the things that separate us from other law firms and reasons why you should come and sit down with us. It’s a free consultation. Other guys are charging $300 and $400 to sit down with them to decide whether you would like to even hire them. I don’t believe that is good business. If you want to check out our law firm and sit and talk to me, there will never be a charge.
For more information on Drug Charges in New Jersey, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (856) 499-8066 today.