John Robbins has been a practicing criminal defense attorney since 1987 and owns his own law firm. “Each day, I provide effective representation to clients whether they have a traffic ticket or are charged with capital murder,” he says.
Robbins graduated from Cumberland Law School in Birmingham and has been teaching at Birmingham School of Law for more than 10 years. He chose to teach as a way of giving back to the legal community. “I don’t teach for financial gain. I enjoy the interaction with students, and they keep me on my toes,” he says. “I teach criminal procedure, criminal law, evidence, and trial advocacy. What I have learned over the years, I try to impart to my students.”
Robbins says he tries to get his students to think like a lawyer. “Just memorizing the law is not the purpose of law school. Anybody can read law books, but it’s learning how to take the facts of a case from that perspective. Those who embrace that way of thinking with become successful lawyers,” he says.
Robbins tells his students that they should not forget their humanity, and treat everyone like a human being and treat them respectfully. “Just because someone exercises poor judgment and gets caught up in the criminal justice system, it doesn’t mean they should not be treated with respect and humanity,” he says.
Law is a 24/7 profession, Robbins says, but he does find time for relaxation and rest. “I have a unique group of friends and we get together on weekends. I enjoy their company,” he says. Robbins likes to work out and box, read and cook. He also likes to travel when he can. Born in the Bronx and grew up in Trenton, NJ, Robbins loves to go to New York and spend time with his grown children.
His greatest achievement as a lawyer is helping people who need help, Robbins says. “I try to instill in my students that they should take a case, not for just financial reasons, but for the business aspect of the law. Take cases in which you can make a good fee, but always take a case for the simple purpose of helping someone who needs your help regardless of whether they can afford to pay your fee,” he says. “When you help someone who really needs help, that is the lawyer’s greatest reward.”