Insight

An Interview With Bruce L. Udolf, "Lawyer of the Year" Winner for Criminal Defense: General Practice in Fort Lauderdale

The former prosecutor looks at his career successes and draws from his experiences on both sides of the aisle.

Bruce L. Udolf Interview
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

November 5, 2018 10:28 AM

In his 30 years of litigation, the founding attorney of The Law Offices of Bruce L. Udolf has seen, tried, and won some of the most significant criminal investigations in the country. A former prosecutor and district attorney, Udolf has been on both sides of the aisle. In his varied career, which included serving as associate independent counsel in Washington, D.C., during the Whitewater investigation, Udolf has led the charge on public ethics and corruption. He prosecuted the mayor of Miami Beach; supervised the investigation of individuals involved in the corruption of the Dade County court system; and represented the former president of the Peruvian football federation, who was named along with 41 other defendants. Udolf’s defendant is the only one so far to have been acquitted.

When considering which qualities might make someone particularly suited to criminal defense, Udolf says, “It’s an appreciation for the rule of law and the importance of fair dealing with people with whom you work on both sides and an appreciation for the fact that we’re part of an important process that is in some ways unique to our country.”

Conversely, an ignorance of or disregard for the position criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors hold is what Udolf sees as the greatest challenge he faces working in his practice: “Mostly,” he explains, “it’s lawyers who either take themselves too seriously or don’t have a proper understanding of what their role is in the justice system.”

Udolf is in the unique position of having experienced both sides of the fight at trial, prosecution, and defense. And though he is now in a private legal practice, he recalls the advantages a prosecutor has over a defendant. “The main difference is you have a lot more resources at your disposal if you represent the government or the state. Basically, most criminal defendants and people in charge of criminal cases don’t have the financial resources or wherewithal to compete in terms of resources with the prosecutors. In terms of resources, it’s a very uneven match.”

As for why he left the D.A.’s office and life as a prosecutor, Udolf says, “It was time to make a change. Sometimes I miss working for the government. It was very rewarding career. But working on this side has its own rewards.”

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