Massachusetts Defense Lawyers
Criminal Defense Attorneys -Private
A nearly limitless number of Massachusetts lawyers will accept clients accused of crimes, even if they rarely appear in criminal courts or have developed any real expertise in defending those charged with crimes. In contrast to civil trial lawyers who try very few cases, gutsy criminal defense attorneys try hundreds of cases over the course of a career. Even those criminal defense lawyers who specialize in criminal defense vary widely in ability, skill, experience, aggressiveness and success. In that regard, criminal defense lawyers differ not at all from members of other professions.
Seventy-five percent of all American lawyers are incompetent, dishonest, or both.
~ Former U.S. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
That a lawyer graduated from an accredited — or even a prestigious — law school is no guarantee that he possesses the minimum skills necessary to competently defend a citizen accused of a crime. There is, therefore, no more important task for the accused than to select an accomplished trial lawyer from the many lawyers willing to accept the fee.
The only real lawyers are trial lawyers, and trial lawyers try cases to juries.
~ Clarence Darrow
Like panning for gold, sifting through all the websites in an effort to separate the competent, let alone, skilled trial lawyers from those who lack the work ethic, courage and aggressiveness to properly and ably defend thier clients is a painstaking undertaking. Make a determined effort to select a competent Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer.
Court Appointed Private Lawyers
Good lawyers are not appointed to defend poor clients…
~ Clarence Darrow
Court appointed criminal defense lawyers – private lawyers accepting court appointed clients – work for as little as $35.00 per hour and are forced to accept more clients than they can be reasonably expected to adequately represent. Many, unable to afford support staff, are overwhelmed. Their ability to successfully defend a client can be compromised. In contrast, the “top dogs” are usually highly skilled trial lawyers with the time, resources and passion to devote their clients’ cases.
When a citizen is charged with a crime and cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for him, not because the system is essentially fair, but because to retain the confidence of the people, the system must appear fair. Usually the defendant’s lawyer is one freshly popped out of a law-school factory somewhere and has had little, if any, experience in the courts.
~ Gerry Spence, From Freedom to Slavery
With few exceptions, only those lawyers fresh out of law school or those lawyers who cannot attract paying clients, accept court-appointed work. The poor are, therefore, usually represented by the least capable Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers. This problem was highlighted in a 2002 Boston Globe editorial:
By law in Massachusetts, the Committee for Public Counsel Services provides lawyers for poor people in criminal and civil cases. Two groups of attorneys do this work: 115 public defenders and 2,600 private lawyers who act as assigned counsel. Their caseloads include murder and child abuse cases, and they represent mentally ill and retarded clients. In fiscal year 2001 they handled 269,000 cases statewide.
Sadly, low salaries and state funding cuts are driving lawyers away. The starting salary for public defenders is $33,000. That’s lower than Connecticut’s starting salary of $45,250 and lower than the $35,829 that Massachusetts pays to Department of Social Service social workers.
–Boston Sunday Globe, 14 July 2002
Criminal Defense Lawyers-Public Defender’s Office
The Committee for Public Counsel Services, an agency of the state government, employs staff lawyers to represent the indigent accused of indictable offenses. Their pay is comparable to that of the assistant district attorneys. Like other government employees, they enjoy few perks and often carry difficult workloads. While the turnover is always high, some of the older lawyers employed by C.P.C.S. are very talented and impressively carry on the daily battle against the system.
Kevin J. Mahoney is a Cambridge, Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer. Call us at 617-492-0055 to schedule a free in-office consultation with us.