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Private attorney (street lawyer) or Public Defender?

Recently it has been suggested that if you should have to choose between spending your money on a street lawyer or a public defender, you should choose to sit in jail and get a street lawyer. The author said that he knows many public defenders and they rate among the brightest and best but they don't have time for what I refer to as "hand holding". On that point he is correct; public defenders don't have a lot of excess time but I would disagree that they only spend a few minutes at a time on a case. I spend what time I can between court appearances on other matters that is true. It is also true of many of my public defense co-horts. It does not include, however, the time we spend when we are not in court. It does not include the time when we come in early, work during lunch, stay late or take work home.

It is true, if you want hand holding, some one to sit and listen to you talk and reassure you that you will be fought for, by all means pay for a street lawyer. Many of them are good friends of mine and excellent attorneys; and many of them will tell you to not spend your money because you have a good lawyer (with regard to any paticular court appointed attorney to whom you are assigned).

Many times I have had a deal worked out or a trial plan, and the client has retained a street lawyer. It has been rare that the results came out better than what had been worked out when I had the case. It is even more rare that trial results have been other than what I advised the client I thought they would be.

On any given case you have to decide what you want. Do you want representation from an attorney who is in court every day fighting for clients? That could be either a court appointed attorney or a street lawyer. Do you want hand holding, then go with the street lawyer. Your money and your choice.

Eithe way, good luck on your case.

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