From the Perspective of a Federal Public Defender’s Paralegal

Public defenders in the federal court system see a lot, hear a lot, and must deal with a lot throughout their careers. What you may be surprised to hear is that the public defender’s paralegal hears and sees just as much. 

Each day, the job of paralegal is intense and brings forth new challenges. You must have excellent time management skills and learn how to compartmentalize if you want to excel and maintain sanity in this line of work. 

I’m a retired paralegal of a Federal Public Defender from the Middle District of Pennsylvania. While working, I followed my boss everywhere. He was assigned clients quickly after they had been arrested, and I watched as he tried to navigate that difficult, yet essential, relationship.

The many cases I assisted with during my career were difficult. Not only were my boss’s clients difficult, but the crimes they committed, the prosecutors fighting against them, and the legal processes in between made the job exhausting. Regardless of the many challenges I faced, there were many rewards as well. 

Helping my boss win cases for the defendants, who clearly didn’t stand a chance without us by their side, was always my favorite part of the job. I enjoyed watching my boss provide a voice to those who couldn’t afford the more expensive defense attorneys out there. 

I prided myself on being behind the scenes as my boss became the best public defender out there. He truly cared for clients and took the process seriously.

My Purpose

I’m writing this blog anonymously as a way to provide information on some of the things I’ve witnessed over the years in the criminal court system. I want a platform where I can say exactly what I feel without being reprimanded. 

I’ll give my honest opinions on the criminal justice system, and I’ll also try to provide helpful resources for those in need. Some of the topics I plan to cover include the following:

  • The Client-Defender Relationship
  • Hiring the Right Defense Attorney
  • The Experience of a Public Defender’s Paralegal
  • Criminal Defense Issues
  • Seeking Justice

All of these topics need to be discussed, and oftentimes, public defenders who are still practicing can’t talk about how they feel without the fear of losing their jobs. Because I’m a paralegal who’s now retired and blogging anonymously, I’m ready to speak on behalf of all paralegals, public defenders, and criminal defense attorneys out there who may not have a voice of their own.

Whether you’re working in the criminal court system or you’re a client in need of legal representation, I hope you find my posts relevant and interesting. These posts are meant to inform and spark discussion. Ultimately, I hope this site will open people’s eyes to some of the things I’ve seen throughout my career.