Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The last post on this blog concerned my previous life as a public defender.  I started with the Public Defender in California.  Disgruntled by the pro-prosecution posture of my home county and itchy for adventure, I worked as a public defender in Fairbanks, Alaska.  There, I spent two years having a wonderful time participating in a more level playing field.  In addition, I was able to take advantage of the great things this frontier state has to offer.  And then I met a woman. She is from California.  And, last year, I returned to California, again as a public defender.  Since then, things have changed.  I have decided to go private.

Although this seems like an easy thing to do, for many reasons it is not.  And that is the purpose of this blog.  I'd like to take this opportunity to document my struggles in the hope that it will make things easier for those who follow. First, there is a certain comfort in getting a check every couple of weeks.  When you go private, you lose that.  Secondly, all that business stuff that WAS done for you, such as ordering paper, dealing with tax stuff, equipment, furniture, advertising, and *shudder* more. Third, for many who have been public defenders during their entire careers, such as myself, there is a psychological trauma in having to charge people for services rendered. In relation to that, charging for services forces a little softer touch with the clients.  Let's be honest, public defenders, with that massive case load, you are forced into a position of triageing cases.  And triage means forcing often unwanted information on clients in a very short period of time.  While I'm hoping I won't have to triage anymore, I am going to have to move away from the abrupt client handling that I've become accustomed to.

I will not talk about specific cases on this blog.  My goal is to show what you might expect from throwing out a shingle and perhaps you might avoid some of the same mistakes.


Blogger Sara said...

This will be informative. Thanks. keep posting..

11:41 AM  

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