Many decisions face young attorneys just starting out in the legal world, and figuring out what kind of legal work is right for you can be a real challenge. To help, we turned to our legal professionals to find out how they handle some of these questions. We asked them about the differences between working publicly or privately as an attorney, and how they decided which was right for them. They had some insightful things to say, which can hopefully help young lawyers just starting out who are debating which route is right for them.
How did you decide whether to work publicly or privately?
What are the pros of being a public attorney? How about the cons?
What are the advantages to working privately? Disadvantages?
Which sector do you work in? Have you worked in the other?
Should new attorneys start out in public or private firms?
...public attorneys get trial experience more quickly. Moreover, public attorneys have a better opportunity to learn and be mentored. Also there can be a big difference in the resources available to handling cases. In some cases private attorneys have the advantage (think clients with deep pockets), while in other cases public attorneys have the advantage (think prosecutors who have a distinct advantage given the pubic resources). read more
The biggest advantages of being a public attorney are the more regular hours (although some public attorneys, such as prosecutors, still work the longer hours) and better health benefits. However, on the downside, the pay often is no where near what you can ultimately make in the private sector. The hours are rigid and you often have little flexibility to adjust your schedule as needed without cutting through a lot of red tape. read more