5 Critical Factors to Evaluate Before Taking on Private Cases

Making the transition from being a public defender to becoming a private attorney can be a significant decision with many potential benefits. However, it is important to carefully consider the implications of this change before taking the plunge. Here are five things to consider before becoming a private attorney from a public defender:

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  1. Financial Stability: While private attorneys often have a higher earning potential than public defenders, it is important to remember that starting a private practice can take time and money. Starting your own law firm means you will need to invest in computer equipment, marketing, and other expenses. It may take several months to establish a steady stream of clients and income. Before making the switch, it is important to ensure that you have a plan in place to achieve financial stability during the transition.
  2. Managing Your Own Cases: As a public defender, your caseload is assigned to you, and you may not have much control over the types of cases you take on. As a private attorney, you will have the freedom to choose which cases to take on, but with that freedom comes the responsibility of managing your own cases. This includes everything from client intake to case strategy, negotiation, and court appearances. You will also be responsible for managing your own schedule and ensuring that deadlines are met.
  3. Business Skills: To be successful as a private attorney, you will need to have strong business skills in addition to legal expertise. This includes everything from marketing and branding to bookkeeping, billing, and client relations. It is important to be able to market yourself effectively to potential clients, manage your finances, and provide excellent customer service.
  4. Work-Life Balance: One of the benefits of becoming a private attorney is the potential for a better work-life balance. However, starting your own law firm can also be a demanding and time-consuming process, particularly in the early stages. It is important to be realistic about the amount of time and effort that will be required to establish and grow your practice. You may need to work long hours in the beginning, but it is important to make time for personal pursuits and self-care to avoid burnout.
  5. Professional Support: As a public defender, you likely have access to a variety of resources and support systems, including mentorship, training, and networking opportunities. As a private attorney, it can be more challenging to find these types of resources and support systems. It is important to seek out professional support from mentors, colleagues, and professional organizations to help you navigate the transition and grow your practice.


Becoming a private attorney from a public defender can be a rewarding and fulfilling career move, but it is important to carefully consider the implications of this change before taking the plunge. By considering the financial, managerial, and personal implications of starting your own law firm, you can ensure that you are well-prepared for the transition and set yourself up for success in your new career.

If you are a public defender who is contemplating the transition to become a private attorney, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We have extensive experience in client acquisition for private criminal defense attorneys and are happy to provide guidance and support to ensure a smooth transition. Feel free to contact us to learn more about the steps you need to take to establish a successful private practice and get on your feet in the private world!

If you are looking for a marketing partner that focuses on driving more leads to your firm at a low cost, then you need to talk to Lab Coat Marketing.
Armando Nava,
Nava Law

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