Don Murray and James Shalley started as office mates at The Legal Aid Society in the late 1990's, and eventually went on to found Shalley and Murray, a highly respected criminal defense firm based in New York City but also with offices in Westchester County, New York. Their practice is limited to criminal defense. They have never prosecuted anyone.
I went to Williams College where I majored in History. After Williams, I went to the University of Florida College of Law (now named the Levin College of Law). I graduated from law school with honors.
During law school, I got a clerkship working for an amazing lawyer named Bill DeCarlis. Bill is a criminal defense lawyer of some considerable reputation in the Southeast, and working with Bill changed my life. To me at the time, Bill seemed like a super hero. He is a former Aerospace engineer who worked on the Apollo program before going to law school. He flew his own airplane. He ran with a crowd of some of the most talented criminal defense lawyers in the nation (including the legendary Bobby Lee Cook) and I was able to tag along for the ride - and what a ride it was.
Working for Bill set me on fire with a passion for criminal defense.
After law school, I parlayed my experience working with Bill to land a job as a trial lawyer for the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division, in New York City. While at the Legal Aid Society, I wrote a chapter on the cross examination of witnesses with criminal convictions for a multi volume series of books for criminal defense lawyers called "Criminal Defense Techniques."
After six years at the Legal Aid Society, in 1996, I formed the law firm Shalley and Murray with my friend and colleague at the Legal Aid Society, James Shalley.
I have had some interesting successes, including a successful false confession defense in Westchester, where I defended a person who had been accused of stealing $60,000 worth of lottery tickets from a store where he was the manager. They had managed to extract a full, written "confession" from him but the jury acquitted. (Confession was extracted after 14 hours of non-stop interrogation and various promises that he could be released if he simply signed a confession. There was no corroborating evidence.)
LEGAL CONSULTANT TO ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
Over the years, I have been consulted by a variety of television and movie producers and writers on small points of New York criminal law and procedure for television programs, movies, articles, and novels.
Most recently, I was engaged to consult more directly on the NBC miniseries "The Slap" to help them understand how an arraignment in New York City would look and sound. If you haven't seen the show, one of the characters (played by Zachary Quinto) is arrested and must be arraigned. They invited me to the set to be there to answer questions about things like, who would stand where and to make sure that the things people said at the arraignment made sense. As it turned out, I was able to catch a mistake in terminology that nobody but a criminal defense lawyer or prosecutor would have caught but it was fun to hear the corrected term in the show and know that it was a result of my influence.
At the end of the day's shooting, they surprised me by asking me to be in a scene (in the background). I actually made it into the show for about six seconds, in a hallway scene where the real actor Peter Sarsgaard walks by me on the way to the courtroom. This was all quite a fun, exciting, and fascinating experience.
I am a bit of a geek. I taught myself computer programming from a book I borrowed from the library when computers first started becoming available for the home. I own and throw boomerangs. Yes, they do return if you throw them right (and it isn't too windy). I am a tournament level Scrabble player, former Scrabble champion of Gainesville, Florida while I was in law school. I play the mandolin, the guitar, and a little Irish tin whistle.
YOU NEED A LAWYER
James Shalley graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1989. While in law school, he clerked for the United States Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.
In 1989, Mr. Shalley became a Trial Attorney for The Legal Aid Society in New York City in their Criminal Defense Division. As a Trial Attorney in Queens County for about 7 years, Mr. Shalley distinguished himself as an excellent trial attorney, conducting a wide variety of trials in both Criminal and Supreme Courts.
Mr. Shalley has taken on management responsibility for the firm's Westchester and Putnam County practice and therefore finds himself frequently making appearances in the various local criminal courts in Westchester and Putnam County.
Mr. Shalley is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the Westchester County Bar Association, and the Queens County Bar Association.