Practitioner Profile: Will Mount
Will Mount is the founding partner at the Mount Law Firm, PLLC, where he primarily represents clients in appointed juvenile delinquency defense and involuntary commitment matters before the D.C. Superior Court. Mount is also a licensed attorney in Maryland.
Mount has always had an interest in criminal law. While pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Criminal Justice at American University, he aspired to work on death penalty cases. Mount recounts taking courses about the intersection of law and psychology, which shaped his view on people, society and how and when we choose to restrict liberty.
While in law school at the University of Miami, Mount continued to pursue a career in criminal law; he interned at both the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office and the Miami-Dade County Office of the State Attorney. After graduation, Mount accepted a fellowship working as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C.
As the fellowship ended, the next step in his career was unclear. However, Mount knew he wanted to serve those most in need within the criminal legal system. The opportunity to work as a juvenile defender was a perfect fit. This field balanced passionate advocacy, respect for victims, and making a difference in the lives of children. As a second-generation attorney, his parents are his biggest legal inspirations. He credits them for cultivating his dedication to public service by encouraging him to use his legal education to make a difference in the lives of others. That commitment to public service shines through as he talks about advocating for his clients. Mount explains that as a juvenile defense attorney he is able to improve children’s lives by helping them avoid permanent life-altering consequences, “it can change someone’s career and future altogether, and so wherever we can help people, wherever we can help make a difference. This is why I do that.”
Mount emphasizes the importance of placing value on zealous advocacy and cautions against pursuing a “win” instead of pursuing justice. According to Mount, one of the challenges of being a criminal defense attorney is having enough time to dedicate to everyone who needs it. It often feels as if he is a firefighter perpetually putting out fires, and the reality of practice often means prioritizing what tasks are most pressing.
For attorneys who are new to this field and the demands of the profession, Mount emphasizes the value in networking and finding colleagues, mentors and other people to talk to and run issues by.
For law students inspired by Mount and looking to follow in his career path, he advises getting hands-on exposure through clinic and clerking in order to meet judges, see their temperaments, and get a few years of courtroom observation. “[N]o one comes out of law school and is ready to practice,” Mount says, “Criminal practice and procedure are very different arts.”