Page 1 of 1

What is criminal defense like?

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:28 pm
by quest909
Hello I'm a new member to this forum and I hope I'm posting this in the right spot..

Anyways, can any criminal defense lawyers tell me what the career is like? Whats your work hours, salary? lets say you make 40k, can you work more hours and make more money? Is starting as a public defender for 2 years then going solo a realistic option?

Im a mid 20s student returning to college and im just trying to see if this is the career for me. Im not interested in going biglaw 160k a year etc... id like to represent lower and middle class people but still make 70 to 80k a year with a ceiling of 100k if possible with idk say 5 years of experience. is this realistic? thanks

p.s. i hope this post isnt frequently asked, i tried searching all over google and couldnt find much other than lots of information on what being a pd is like.

Re: What is criminal defense like?

Posted: Tue May 01, 2018 1:21 pm
by objctnyrhnr
[quote="quest909"]Hello I'm a new member to this forum and I hope I'm posting this in the right spot..

Anyways, can any criminal defense lawyers tell me what the career is like? Whats your work hours, salary? lets say you make 40k, can you work more hours and make more money? Is starting as a public defender for 2 years then going solo a realistic option?

Im a mid 20s student returning to college and im just trying to see if this is the career for me. Im not interested in going biglaw 160k a year etc... id like to represent lower and middle class people but still make 70 to 80k a year with a ceiling of 100k if possible with idk say 5 years of experience. is this realistic? thanks

p.s. i hope this post isnt frequently asked, i tried searching all over google and couldnt find much other than lots of information on what being a pd is like.[/quote

If you can get a PD job first, I think that builds some credibility. Either way, in my jurisdiction, public defenders show up to arraignment session on “duty days,” and take turns getting assigned cases. Some end up successful and being able to support themselves with a private caseload and rarely doing duty days, some are weak and take advantage of the lack of performance oversight through these duty days and they end up doing it their whole lives, and some are in between. You basically need a pulse and a law degree to be put on the “duty list.”

Re: What is criminal defense like?

Posted: Tue May 01, 2018 1:47 pm
by RCSOB657
quest909 wrote:Hello I'm a new member to this forum and I hope I'm posting this in the right spot..

Anyways, can any criminal defense lawyers tell me what the career is like? Whats your work hours, salary? lets say you make 40k, can you work more hours and make more money? Is starting as a public defender for 2 years then going solo a realistic option?

Im a mid 20s student returning to college and im just trying to see if this is the career for me. Im not interested in going biglaw 160k a year etc... id like to represent lower and middle class people but still make 70 to 80k a year with a ceiling of 100k if possible with idk say 5 years of experience. is this realistic? thanks

p.s. i hope this post isnt frequently asked, i tried searching all over google and couldnt find much other than lots of information on what being a pd is like.



Hi Quest, great questions that are going to be specific to the state and even the area of that state your're interested in.

Re: What is criminal defense like?

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 7:58 am
by quest909
RCSOB657 wrote:
quest909 wrote:Hello I'm a new member to this forum and I hope I'm posting this in the right spot..

Anyways, can any criminal defense lawyers tell me what the career is like? Whats your work hours, salary? lets say you make 40k, can you work more hours and make more money? Is starting as a public defender for 2 years then going solo a realistic option?

Im a mid 20s student returning to college and im just trying to see if this is the career for me. Im not interested in going biglaw 160k a year etc... id like to represent lower and middle class people but still make 70 to 80k a year with a ceiling of 100k if possible with idk say 5 years of experience. is this realistic? thanks

p.s. i hope this post isnt frequently asked, i tried searching all over google and couldnt find much other than lots of information on what being a pd is like.



Hi Quest, great questions that are going to be specific to the state and even the area of that state your're interested in.



I’m from Pittsburgh, pa. But I’d be willing to practice anywhere in the USA. Rural, etc.

Re: What is criminal defense like?

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 3:21 pm
by tbaker757
I actually did this. It is not the easiest road but if you survive it you can do quite well. I would say that your best bet here is to find a rural-ish area where the few attorneys are getting to retirement age. They won't mind the competition so much and will even help you if you have a question. The basic question is how risk averse are you and how comfortable are you figuring things out on your own. If you are someone who needs strong support and guidance this isn't for you. Law school does not prepare you to practice law or run a business. You will need to figure out how to do both and quickly. You will also work (at least at first) as much if not more as anyone else. I love criminal defense but I end up doing some other basic general practice stuff too. I am more than happy to answer any questions.