Career options for public defenders?

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Career options for public defenders?

Postby brinicolec » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:02 pm

Hi all,

Long-time, minimal posting.

Having completed a year of law school, I'm realizing that I really, really just don't find even the fundamentals of transactional work to be even remotely appealing and am basically changing gears (back) to wanting to do criminal defense work.

I was curious of the long-term career opportunities for those who start off in public defense, especially for those who have an interest in eventually getting paid. I know that federal defenders are on a gov't pay scale so they have higher salaries, but I was curious what other doors public defense work opens (be it gov't agencies or litigating for a firm).

Obviously going to pick the brains of some professors/OCP folks at my LS as well, but figured TLS might also be a good place to pose this question.

I read (skimmed) the rules for posting and I think this is the proper place to post this. But if not, FORGIVE ME MODERATORS!

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Re: Career options for public defenders?

Postby Traynor Brah » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:14 pm

If you have an interest in "getting paid," it's not an advisable route, compared to essentially every other route.

Also, not to say there is anything about it you should find appealing, I don't really get how you've been sufficiently exposed transactional work as a 1L.

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Re: Career options for public defenders?

Postby encore1101 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:37 pm

Just anecdotal, but my friend went from federal public defender to biglaw in NYC. I have no idea how much of an impact his stint in fedpubdef had versus his grades and activities in law school, though.

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Re: Career options for public defenders?

Postby Ohiobumpkin » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:18 pm

Is white collar defense an option? Seems like that would pay better on average than say run of the mill criminal defense work, plus a lot of mid and big firms have white collar defense practice groups.

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Re: Career options for public defenders?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:16 pm

I was a Pd, and moved to a state agency that had some crossover with indigent defense. I make just under $100k in my 5th year. Salary tops out around $135k eventually. I'm not sure what your definition of getting paid is, but it's better pay and less hours than a pd.

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