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Private and Public Defense Attorney Greenville SC

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There is considerable debate about the relative merits of appointed counsel and private counsel. On one hand, it is commonly believed that money talks in the criminal justice system and those defendants who are able to afford their own attorney Greenville SC have a better chance. On the other hand, the specialized public defender can be assumed to have an advantage over private counsel in effectively defending criminal defendants. There is probably no right answer in this debate. Much depends upon how effective representation is measured.

Attorneys who are paid by their clients tend to spend more time on the cases. This is due in part to the fact that public defenders have heavy caseloads and cannot spend an inordinate amount of time on any single case. A more cynical interpretation might suggest that the private attorney who charges by the hour (sometimes $300, $400, or $500 per hour) has a vested interest in working the case hard to pump up the final fee. Consequently, private attorneys tend to file more motions, attend more hearings, and meet with family members more often than do appointed counsel or public defenders. In effect, private attorneys must put on a show for their clients to demonstrate that they are worth the money they are being paid. This is not to suggest, however, that private attorneys do not provide quality representation, because many do. however, that the number of hours that go into a case may not be the best measure of whether private attorneys are more effective than public defenders or appointed counsel .


Research shows that there is a lack of consensus as to whether private attorney Greenville SC provides better outcomes than public defenders. According to several studies, there is little difference in the rate of case dismissals, convictions, and severity of sentences between defendants who are represented by a private attorney and those who are represented by an appointed counsel or a public defender. It is difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of attorneys because much of what they do is done in the corridors, elevators, and back rooms of the courthouse rather than in the courtroom. Although a private attorney may make a splash by arguing vigorously in open court the public defender may be just as effective by quietly negotiating with the prosecutor over coffee in the courthouse cafeteria.

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