I'm a Public Defender AMA

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Leela
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Leela » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:07 pm

sunnew wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:48 pm
Leela wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:38 pm
sunnew wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:08 pm
Current 2L. I’ve worked at one PD’s office in state A for two summers, will work in two offices in state B this semester/this summer. I will be applying for PD jobs in two other states that I will have no ties to barring a fiancée moving there for work. Do you have any insight as to the difficulty of getting such a community-focused job like this in a state to which one has no ties? How hard of a sell is a candidate like this?
This is a guess, to be honest, so keep that in mind. You sound like a very well-qualified candidate, so while ties are a plus, I don't think you'll have trouble getting in the door. Are these national-level locations (do they recruit at EJW, for example)? If yes, I wouldn't worry about it. If no, I still think you'll get interviews based on your resume

With all these application questions keep in mind that PD offices want you to be on your feet in court with limited supervision ASAP. Your capacity to do that will trump tie concerns.

But again, just educated guesswork.
Thanks for the quick reply. I’m not at a great school and have middling grades, so I am a bit worried. I will definitely focus on making the most of my courtroom experience over the next year, though, and keeping up on my Spanish. Thanks for the advice.

That said, do you find you have a strong desire to move on to felonies? Obviously, things can and probably will change after practicing, but right now I think I’d be very happy doing misdemeanors and non-complex cases for years if not my whole career, because that would keep me in contact with clients day in and day out, which is what I really love. I wonder how universal or weird my feelings on that are.
I currently have ~150 clients (the least since I've started my job) and have ~50 more in warrant status. I've handled roughly 600 clients (not cases, clients) since I started. I tell you this because at that volume, which is not atypical with misdemeanor only caseloads, I don't have great client contact. I talk to people every day, but not in the client-centered, trauma informed practice I would like. There's a lot of crisis management and triage, prioritizing people who are incarcerated, heading to trial, or facing the most serious consequences (significant jail time/deportation/loss of custody, etc). I absolutely do not know all of my clients, which sucks.

I tell you all of this because my caseload will decrease significantly when I get to felonies. Not only are the cases more interesting and the legal issues juicier, but I actually think it's much easier to have a client-centered practice, when you only have 70-80 clients. Personally, I like litigation a lot, and your opportunities increase with more serious and complex charges.

Also if I never have to handle a DWI again, that's just fine with me.

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bikeflip
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by bikeflip » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:09 pm

sunnew wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:51 pm
bikeflip wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:03 pm
Crim defense atty. Can I sometimes hijack or answer questions too?
Thanks for doing this. What was your career path?
DA to private defense counsel.

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sunnew
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by sunnew » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:14 pm

bikeflip wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:09 pm
sunnew wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:51 pm
bikeflip wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:03 pm
Crim defense atty. Can I sometimes hijack or answer questions too?
Thanks for doing this. What was your career path?
DA to private defense counsel.
Re: the switch from public to private, favorite and least favorite aspect of the change?

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sunnew
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by sunnew » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:18 pm

Leela wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:07 pm

I currently have ~150 clients (the least since I've started my job) and have ~50 more in warrant status. I've handled roughly 600 clients (not cases, clients) since I started. I tell you this because at that volume, which is not atypical with misdemeanor only caseloads, I don't have great client contact. I talk to people every day, but not in the client-centered, trauma informed practice I would like. There's a lot of crisis management and triage, prioritizing people who are incarcerated, heading to trial, or facing the most serious consequences (significant jail time/deportation/loss of custody, etc). I absolutely do not know all of my clients, which sucks.

I tell you all of this because my caseload will decrease significantly when I get to felonies. Not only are the cases more interesting and the legal issues juicier, but I actually think it's much easier to have a client-centered practice, when you only have 70-80 clients. Personally, I like litigation a lot, and your opportunities increase with more serious and complex charges.

Also if I never have to handle a DWI again, that's just fine with me.
I have nothing to respond to this, I just wanted to say I really appreciate the time you’ve put in answering my questions.

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bikeflip
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by bikeflip » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:22 pm

Favorite: My caseload is much smaller. From a few hundred open cases (I forget what the exact number was) to fewer than 15 open cases. Feels nice. If a case is really shitty for any reason I don't have to take it.

Least favorite: Lack of built-in mentoring opportunities, though many buddies like helping me out. DA to private defense is a common path. I get a LOT LESS control over cases. Client fucks something up and DA doesn't like it? There's only so much I can do. I hate having to go to 10 different courthouses and figure out 50 different judge quirks, but private defense list-servs help with judge quirks.
Last edited by bikeflip on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Leela
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Leela » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:26 pm

sunnew wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:18 pm
I have nothing to respond to this, I just wanted to say I really appreciate the time you’ve put in answering my questions.
I've been part of this community a very long time and really benefitted from the help I've received from MANY people. Happy to be in a position to pay it forward, even just a little.

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Echos Myron
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Echos Myron » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:36 am

bikeflip wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:22 pm
Favorite: My caseload is much smaller. From a few hundred open cases (I forget what the exact number was) to fewer than 15 open cases. Feels nice. If a case is really shitty for any reason I don't have to take it.

Least favorite: Lack of built-in mentoring opportunities, though many buddies like helping me out. DA to private defense is a common path. I get a LOT LESS control over cases. Client fucks something up and DA doesn't like it? There's only so much I can do. I hate having to go to 10 different courthouses and figure out 50 different judge quirks, but private defense list-servs help with judge quirks.
Do you mind sharing your billables and approximate salary? Are you solo or in a small firm? Major market, secondary, or smaller?
Do you specialize in a certain type of criminal case (i.e. DUI) or more of a generalist? How many years did you spend in the DA's office, and what motivated you to make the switch to the private sector (and the right side of the v.)?

sdancer89
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by sdancer89 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:07 am

sunnew wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:08 pm
Current 2L. I’ve worked at one PD’s office in state A for two summers, will work in two offices in state B this semester/this summer. I will be applying for PD jobs in two other states that I will have no ties to barring a fiancée moving there for work. Do you have any insight as to the difficulty of getting such a community-focused job like this in a state to which one has no ties? How hard of a sell is a candidate like this?
I'm a 1st year PD who took this path. I interned with PD offices in my school's market, which is where I thought I was likely to end up. 3L year, I expanded my search a bit and applied more nationally. My current office is in a city with a notoriously insular legal market. My only tie was having my aunt and uncle in the area. Through the interview process, the office seemed much more interested in substantive experience and dedication to the work than ties. At least half the class I started with came from out-of-state. This probably also varies with how national of an office you're looking at.

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sunnew
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by sunnew » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:47 am

sdancer89 wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:07 am
sunnew wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:08 pm
Current 2L. I’ve worked at one PD’s office in state A for two summers, will work in two offices in state B this semester/this summer. I will be applying for PD jobs in two other states that I will have no ties to barring a fiancée moving there for work. Do you have any insight as to the difficulty of getting such a community-focused job like this in a state to which one has no ties? How hard of a sell is a candidate like this?
I'm a 1st year PD who took this path. I interned with PD offices in my school's market, which is where I thought I was likely to end up. 3L year, I expanded my search a bit and applied more nationally. My current office is in a city with a notoriously insular legal market. My only tie was having my aunt and uncle in the area. Through the interview process, the office seemed much more interested in substantive experience and dedication to the work than ties. At least half the class I started with came from out-of-state. This probably also varies with how national of an office you're looking at.
Thanks for the reply. A couple of the offices I will be looking at are fairly large, so this is encouraging.

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bikeflip
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by bikeflip » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:23 am

Echos Myron wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:36 am
Do you mind sharing your billables and approximate salary? Are you solo or in a small firm? Major market, secondary, or smaller?
Do you specialize in a certain type of criminal case (i.e. DUI) or more of a generalist? How many years did you spend in the DA's office, and what motivated you to make the switch to the private sector (and the right side of the v.)?
I was in a small DA office for about a year that had a reputation for burning out attorneys. Now I'm a newish solo in a larger secondary market and will travel to nearby courthouses. I haven't added up my billables for last year, but I can tell you the hours were less than the DA's office (DA was about 45-50 hrs/wk. I probably do 35-40 now). I made jack last year, but I'm bumping up my advertising budget and have had a bunch of referrals this month alone.

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Echos Myron
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Echos Myron » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:35 am

bikeflip wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:23 am
Echos Myron wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:36 am
Do you mind sharing your billables and approximate salary? Are you solo or in a small firm? Major market, secondary, or smaller?
Do you specialize in a certain type of criminal case (i.e. DUI) or more of a generalist? How many years did you spend in the DA's office, and what motivated you to make the switch to the private sector (and the right side of the v.)?
I was in a small DA office for about a year that had a reputation for burning out attorneys. Now I'm a newish solo in a larger secondary market and will travel to nearby courthouses. I haven't added up my billables for last year, but I can tell you the hours were less than the DA's office (DA was about 45-50 hrs/wk. I probably do 35-40 now). I made jack last year, but I'm bumping up my advertising budget and have had a bunch of referrals this month alone.
Thanks for the input! Are you on a conflict of interest panel for indigent clients, or strictly doing private cases? Despite the lesser hours, it the business dev. side of things stressful given the eat-what-you-kill lifestyle of a solo crim. attorney?

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bikeflip
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by bikeflip » Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:40 pm

Echos Myron wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:35 am
bikeflip wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:23 am
Echos Myron wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:36 am
Do you mind sharing your billables and approximate salary? Are you solo or in a small firm? Major market, secondary, or smaller?
Do you specialize in a certain type of criminal case (i.e. DUI) or more of a generalist? How many years did you spend in the DA's office, and what motivated you to make the switch to the private sector (and the right side of the v.)?
I was in a small DA office for about a year that had a reputation for burning out attorneys. Now I'm a newish solo in a larger secondary market and will travel to nearby courthouses. I haven't added up my billables for last year, but I can tell you the hours were less than the DA's office (DA was about 45-50 hrs/wk. I probably do 35-40 now). I made jack last year, but I'm bumping up my advertising budget and have had a bunch of referrals this month alone.
Thanks for the input! Are you on a conflict of interest panel for indigent clients, or strictly doing private cases? Despite the lesser hours, it the business dev. side of things stressful given the eat-what-you-kill lifestyle of a solo crim. attorney?
At the moment, I'm doing only private cases with an emphasis on lower flat fee plans. Conflict counsel in my area is PD alum friendly and rather DA alum unfriendly. Biz development is stressful b/c bills still have to be paid.

hookem
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by hookem » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:50 pm

I have an interview at a public defender's office later this week. They apparently always ask if you've thought about being a prosecutor and why not. I never have thought about it, but don't necessarily have a great reason why. Any thoughts on what you think they are looking to hear?

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Clamence
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Clamence » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm

Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?

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Leela
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Leela » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:51 pm

Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?
I want to give this a full answer, but I'm running some errands. Will get back to it later this weekend!

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Clamence
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Clamence » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:05 pm

Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:51 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?
I want to give this a full answer, but I'm running some errands. Will get back to it later this weekend!
No worries! Thanks in advance.

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Leela
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Leela » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:00 pm

Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:05 pm
Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:51 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?
I want to give this a full answer, but I'm running some errands. Will get back to it later this weekend!
No worries! Thanks in advance.
In our office we are assigned to staff a courtroom. On a typical day I go to my office, pick up files/put out any emerging fires, and get to court around 9:15. There are usually between 1 and 3 other attorneys in the court room to handle between 35 and 70 cases. We are each assigned a personal case load, but cover all the cases in our court room based on who is there. Judge takes the bench around 10/10:15 and does a morning calendar. Dispositions taken, discovery turned over, cases conferenced with the ADA & judge, applications made, motion schedules laid out, dates for hearings/trials selected, etc. It's all pretty routine, but the volume makes it very hectic, so you're at a dead sprint the entire time.

Court breaks for lunch between 12 and 1. Starts back up at 2:00/2:15. During the break, I sometimes grab lunch, but also see clients in custody in the basement, answer phone calls, hassle ADAs, run things by my supervisor, or do last minute prep for PM cases or hearings. I almost always work through lunch, but not all of my colleagues do. If I don't have to go to court in the afternoon (rare), I go to the jail to visit clients.

In the afternoon there are a number of things that can happen. Diversion courts (drug court, veteran's court, youth court, etc) are held once or twice per week in the afternoon. Attorneys staff those for 6 months at a time. Mine is very rewarding, in front of an outstanding judge, with a pretty limited additional work load, only once per week. That is not true for all the diversion courts, so I'm quite fortunate.

Trial and hearings start at 2:15. Some judges try to squeeze some testimony into the morning session, after the calendar, but largely they take place in the afternoons. Anything left over from the morning calendar is done at this point as well. I usually leave court between 3 and 4 for the day, obviously depending on what I'm doing and where I'm staffed.

When I get back to office I prep my cases for the next day, return phone calls, check in with supervisors, touch base with ADAs, answer emails. Basically the longer version of what I'm doing at lunch.

Once per week I have an arraignment shift. I get to the courthouse at 7:50/8:00 and prep paperwork, along with another attorney and paralegal. Around 9:00 we go into judicial holding cells and interview anywhere between 15 and 50 people; obviously this is totally dependent on how many people were arrested the previous night/day. The judge takes the bench around 10:00 and we get additional paperwork. This goes until about 12:00. We come back in the afternoon to interview a new group of people and prep new paperwork for the 2:15 calendar. This is obviously incredibly stressful, the worst shift of the week, and miserable for everyone involved. There is a reason no one likes arraignments.

Additional things I jam in during the week: writing motions, prepping hearings, prepping trials, and jail visits. I like to prep litigation at home. My supervisor has young kids so I tend to talk to him between 9 & midnight after they're both asleep. Most of the motions are pretty repetitive, so I have a bank I tend to draw from (speedy trial, asking for standard pre-trial hearings, etc) and I can write them very quickly with snippets of time. If it's more involved, I'll do it in the evening or the weekend. I also do jail visits at night after work.

This is all to say that I CAN have a 9-5 day and sometimes do, but most of the time work much later, often from home, and spend several weekend days a month in the office. I could ALWAYS be working more/spending more time in the office. This all goes out the window when I'm on trial, then it's more like 7am-midnight.


This is a ton of information, so please feel free to ask about anything that jumps out at you!

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Clamence
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Clamence » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:51 pm

Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:00 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:05 pm
Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:51 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?
I want to give this a full answer, but I'm running some errands. Will get back to it later this weekend!
No worries! Thanks in advance.
In our office we are assigned to staff a courtroom. On a typical day I go to my office, pick up files/put out any emerging fires, and get to court around 9:15. There are usually between 1 and 3 other attorneys in the court room to handle between 35 and 70 cases. We are each assigned a personal case load, but cover all the cases in our court room based on who is there. Judge takes the bench around 10/10:15 and does a morning calendar. Dispositions taken, discovery turned over, cases conferenced with the ADA & judge, applications made, motion schedules laid out, dates for hearings/trials selected, etc. It's all pretty routine, but the volume makes it very hectic, so you're at a dead sprint the entire time.

Court breaks for lunch between 12 and 1. Starts back up at 2:00/2:15. During the break, I sometimes grab lunch, but also see clients in custody in the basement, answer phone calls, hassle ADAs, run things by my supervisor, or do last minute prep for PM cases or hearings. I almost always work through lunch, but not all of my colleagues do. If I don't have to go to court in the afternoon (rare), I go to the jail to visit clients.

In the afternoon there are a number of things that can happen. Diversion courts (drug court, veteran's court, youth court, etc) are held once or twice per week in the afternoon. Attorneys staff those for 6 months at a time. Mine is very rewarding, in front of an outstanding judge, with a pretty limited additional work load, only once per week. That is not true for all the diversion courts, so I'm quite fortunate.

Trial and hearings start at 2:15. Some judges try to squeeze some testimony into the morning session, after the calendar, but largely they take place in the afternoons. Anything left over from the morning calendar is done at this point as well. I usually leave court between 3 and 4 for the day, obviously depending on what I'm doing and where I'm staffed.

When I get back to office I prep my cases for the next day, return phone calls, check in with supervisors, touch base with ADAs, answer emails. Basically the longer version of what I'm doing at lunch.

Once per week I have an arraignment shift. I get to the courthouse at 7:50/8:00 and prep paperwork, along with another attorney and paralegal. Around 9:00 we go into judicial holding cells and interview anywhere between 15 and 50 people; obviously this is totally dependent on how many people were arrested the previous night/day. The judge takes the bench around 10:00 and we get additional paperwork. This goes until about 12:00. We come back in the afternoon to interview a new group of people and prep new paperwork for the 2:15 calendar. This is obviously incredibly stressful, the worst shift of the week, and miserable for everyone involved. There is a reason no one likes arraignments.

Additional things I jam in during the week: writing motions, prepping hearings, prepping trials, and jail visits. I like to prep litigation at home. My supervisor has young kids so I tend to talk to him between 9 & midnight after they're both asleep. Most of the motions are pretty repetitive, so I have a bank I tend to draw from (speedy trial, asking for standard pre-trial hearings, etc) and I can write them very quickly with snippets of time. If it's more involved, I'll do it in the evening or the weekend. I also do jail visits at night after work.

This is all to say that I CAN have a 9-5 day and sometimes do, but most of the time work much later, often from home, and spend several weekend days a month in the office. I could ALWAYS be working more/spending more time in the office. This all goes out the window when I'm on trial, then it's more like 7am-midnight.


This is a ton of information, so please feel free to ask about anything that jumps out at you!
Thank you for this wealth of information, this is wonderful. It seems like a lot of work, which is no surprise. Do you find that work life balance is about as difficult as it is for those in biglaw? More difficult? Less difficult? You mentioned earlier that you were interested in being a public defender for the long haul. Do you ever think about jumping to federal public defense? Why or why not?

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RubyRhad
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by RubyRhad » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:55 pm

Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:00 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:05 pm
Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:51 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?
I want to give this a full answer, but I'm running some errands. Will get back to it later this weekend!
No worries! Thanks in advance.
This is a ton of information, so please feel free to ask about anything that jumps out at you!
Leela, thank you so much for that information. You are a beautiful angel literally sent from heaven.

Question, and sorry if you already addressed this but I don't think so: Did you have to wait until 3L or shortly after graduation before you were able to lock down your current place of employment? I've heard that public interest usually has to wait a little bit longer than those interested in corporate law for a job offer.

sdancer89
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:03 pm

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by sdancer89 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:47 am

alykdesire wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:55 pm
Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:00 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:05 pm
Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:51 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?
I want to give this a full answer, but I'm running some errands. Will get back to it later this weekend!
No worries! Thanks in advance.
This is a ton of information, so please feel free to ask about anything that jumps out at you!
Leela, thank you so much for that information. You are a beautiful angel literally sent from heaven.

Question, and sorry if you already addressed this but I don't think so: Did you have to wait until 3L or shortly after graduation before you were able to lock down your current place of employment? I've heard that public interest usually has to wait a little bit longer than those interested in corporate law for a job offer.
Not Leela, but also a newer PD. I got my offer at the beginning of January 3L year. Other friends looking for PD jobs got offers mostly between late Nov-January. There were some slower ones that trickled in later, but the bulk of the offers came during 3L year. Since the BigLaw folks had offers coming out of their 2L summer, the PD offers definitely came later by about a semester. Mine at least came early enough that I could mostly check out and relax my last semester of 3L though :)

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RubyRhad
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Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by RubyRhad » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:52 am

sdancer89 wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:47 am
alykdesire wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:55 pm
Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:00 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:05 pm
Leela wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:51 pm
Clamence wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:17 pm
Leela wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:54 am
happy to answer questions about getting the job
Thanks for the response to my earlier question, and thanks for doing this in general. Could you walk us through a typical work day? I imagine the "typical" work day might be somewhat of an oxymoron for a PD, so I understand if this isn't easy to do. Also, what are your hours like? 9-5? More? Work on weekends?
I want to give this a full answer, but I'm running some errands. Will get back to it later this weekend!
No worries! Thanks in advance.
This is a ton of information, so please feel free to ask about anything that jumps out at you!
Leela, thank you so much for that information. You are a beautiful angel literally sent from heaven.

Question, and sorry if you already addressed this but I don't think so: Did you have to wait until 3L or shortly after graduation before you were able to lock down your current place of employment? I've heard that public interest usually has to wait a little bit longer than those interested in corporate law for a job offer.
Not Leela, but also a newer PD. I got my offer at the beginning of January 3L year. Other friends looking for PD jobs got offers mostly between late Nov-January. There were some slower ones that trickled in later, but the bulk of the offers came during 3L year. Since the BigLaw folks had offers coming out of their 2L summer, the PD offers definitely came later by about a semester. Mine at least came early enough that I could mostly check out and relax my last semester of 3L though :)
Awesome! Thank you so much. Another question: Did you have a lot of freedom when it came to picking which PD office you ended up at?

weasels
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:15 am

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by weasels » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:07 pm

Leela wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:25 am
bikeflip wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:23 am
Would the following applicants get an interview in your office:
  • Someone who was a cop-absolutely not, unless as an investigator
    Someone who was working at a sheriff's office but in an administrative position-not clear to me, probably though
    Someone who was a victim advocate-probably not, unless compelling cover letter. less because we wouldn't want them and more because of the job
    Someone who interned for a DAs office-we've hired people who had mixed resume, especially if it went DA---->PD
    Someone who did not intern with the PDs office but has no DA or law enforcement stuff on their resume-no
this is all guesswork, I have absolutely zero input/real knowledge of hiring
Wait, why wouldn't your office hire someone who used to a cop?

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Borhas
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:46 pm

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Borhas » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:33 pm

By the way, if anyone has questions about the Colorado State Public Defender's Office let me know (hiring, interview), PM's are fine if you want to be real specific. I was a PD for about 4 years, worked on every type of case including murder-1 before burning out.

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Borhas
Posts: 833
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:46 pm

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by Borhas » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:35 pm

bikeflip wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:23 am
Would the following applicants get an interview in your office:
  • Someone who was a cop
    Someone who was working at a sheriff's office but in an administrative position
    Someone who was a victim advocate
    Someone who interned for a DAs office
    Someone who did not intern with the PDs office but has no DA or law enforcement stuff on their resume

No
No
No
No
Yes for 1L's a probably not for 2L's.

*for the PD office I worked at

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bikeflip
Posts: 352
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:45 am

Re: I'm a Public Defender AMA

Post by bikeflip » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:57 pm

Borhas wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:33 pm
By the way, if anyone has questions about the Colorado State Public Defender's Office let me know (hiring, interview), PM's are fine if you want to be real specific. I was a PD for about 4 years, worked on every type of case including murder-1 before burning out.

I know the answer to this, Borhas, but others will wanna know.

How does hiring work in Colorado? Is it statewide hiring? Is there a chance you will be sent to an area you might not wanna work in? What does the first year of training look like? What kind of cases did you do? Did you do municipal cases?

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