Why Being a Defense Attorney is Hard: An Expert's Perspective

Being a defense attorney is not an easy job. Despite the potential for high salaries and autonomy, defense attorneys face a number of challenges in their roles, such as negative public perception, demanding clients, overwhelming tests, time demands and stress. Even in my own experiences so far, I have seen how defense attorneys sometimes have to deal with unfair and absurd charges. They must raise issues that should never have existed in the first place, such as an unlawful search, a seizure, an accusation and even the struggle to obtain exculpatory evidence that belongs to them by right.

It is possible that if these defense lawyers had chosen to be prosecutors, the rights of the defendants, who are often the most vulnerable in our society, would be better protected than they seem to be today. Given all of this, it is understandable to wonder if life would have been different for Steven Avery if his defense lawyers had chosen to be prosecutors. Their passion for protecting the rights and privileges granted to us by the Constitution of the United States would undoubtedly translate into their work as prosecutors. They would have had the power to charge only those crimes for which they believed there was sufficient evidence. Arguably, their investigation of the cases would have been more thorough and would undoubtedly have taken into account the interests and constitutional rights of the accused throughout the process. The more I think about my passion for defense work, the more I consider the work of the prosecution.

Of course, major cases such as Steven Avery's are rare. And victims have rights and interests that must also be protected: prosecutors are responsible for the safety of entire communities. However, the main function of the prosecutor is to do justice when an injustice has occurred, and that includes injustice against the accused. That part of the function is all too often overlooked. Being a prosecutor would give me the power to influence injustice at all levels, for everyone and in all situations.

That's why I came to law school. If those who are accusing their case against my faith were willing to defend my faith, only then would they be sufficiently prepared. As a defense lawyer you deal with sensitive issues and tensions are high; you'll also face situations where clients break down and go crazy with you, and you can even deal with that with members of the prosecution on occasion. The public perception of criminal defense lawyers is often low because they are “defending criminals”. Another organization, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, provides services to private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense lawyers, law professors and judges.

For example, Marshall criminal defense lawyers are here to help you fight for your freedom regardless of who you are or what you have done. This couldn't be further from the truth (I'll spare you my complaint about how defense lawyers are an essential part of making the judicial system work and keeping the police at bay), but it is still a predominant narrative and you will face a lot of negativity from outsiders about what they do. While I think things are changing when it comes to public perception of criminal defense lawyers in general, media will continue to be vilified and there is still a widespread perception among public that defense lawyers are bad people who are only there to help criminals get away with it. I've always thought that defense attorneys were heroes so rest assured that at least one of those here admires their work and considers it vital. While most criminal defense attorney positions are advertised as full-time jobs (40 hours a week), most lawyers work twice as much. People are arrested around the clock and have right to talk to their lawyer so be prepared to wake up and talk to them.

I've often heard members of public or even members of defense bar association say that “prosecutors like to send people to jail” or that it's “easier for you to send them to jail”.Being a defense attorney is hard work but it is also incredibly rewarding. It requires dedication and commitment but it also allows you to make a real difference in people's lives. It can be difficult but it can also be incredibly fulfilling.

Dawn Launiere
Dawn Launiere

Amateur beer evangelist. Professional bacon aficionado. Total social media maven. Typical travel fan. Social media junkie.