federal vs. state public defender

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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:22 pm

federal vs. state public defender

Postby kosullivan23 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:52 am

Anyone know if there's a significant difference between the culture of federal vs. state pd? Just from doing some quick research it seems like federal handles mostly white collar financial type crimes. I have prior experience working as an investigator at a big city pd office and really enjoyed the work. I am planning on starting law school next fall and am considering applying to work as an investigator at a federal pd office until then, but I just wanted to see if anyone had thoughts on the federal system. I guess what I'm really trying to ask is would the work/clients be significantly different than what I've previously been exposed to? Also how would working at a federal pd office look to some of the big city true believer type offices that I would like to ultimately work at after graduating law school? Thanks!

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Dr. Review

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Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:51 am

Re: federal vs. state public defender

Postby Dr. Review » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:08 am

The differences can be pretty significant. Federal PD offices are often staffed with highly qualified, top notch attorneys with JDs from schools like Harvard. This is not to say that State PD offices are not, but in my experience, state PDs are usually more local/regional schools. This may be in part to funding differences.

Often, state PDs are underfunded and/or overworked. As an example, in the market where I went to law school, the PD office didn't have wifi or enough computers for interns/volunteers to do work. Nor was it air conditioned during the summer.

The Fed PD on the other hand, was well staffed, much less overworked, had nicer offices, and the attorneys generally came from backgrounds doing high profile private-firm work or similar after attending schools such as T14s, and who transitioned into PD work.

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