From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Salary

Average Salary: $51,190

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,137,000


Don't lease the BMW or buy Italian suits just yet, Esquire. Being a public defender is on the lower end of the lawyer pay spectrum. Assistants start at around $40k and ones with a few years of experience can make $100k annually. Depending on your situation, you will get paid by the hour or have a salary. Either way, you're getting paid by the government (which is having some budget issues lately). Don't expect too much.

It's not about the money. If you wanted money, you could get into real estate law or represent people who want to sue sue sue! Being a public defender lets you get experience working under some of the toughest conditions in the legal system. And you also have the chance to ensure the civil rights of Americans. You should work for free!

Okay, maybe not free…but being a public servant is not necessarily going to be what makes you the big bucks…at first. If you are content to hone your craft, prove yourself as a hard worker, and build a positive reputation, you will have no problem paying the bills in the future. Today it's hamburgers, tomorrow filet mignon. Learn your craft so you can become a sought-after defense attorney who rakes in big bucks, has an army of other lawyers working under her, and stars in a commercial.

Advertisement