Average Public Defender Salary

Avg. SalaryShow Hourly Rate
Profit Sharing
What am I worth?
Get pay report
How should I pay?
Price a job
The average salary for a Public Defender is $60,638.
MEDIAN $60,638
Is Public Defender your job title? Get a personalized salary report!
How it works:
Enter city & years of experience
Add pay factors like skills & education
Find your market worth with a report tailored to you
United States (change)
$43k - $97k
$251 - $10k
Profit Sharing
$0 - $728
Total Pay
$43k - $100k

Your Market Worth Over Time

How has your pay changed over time for your market? Find out by taking our salary quiz.

Job Description for Public Defender

Public Defender Tasks
  • Represent clients in cases involving felony or misdemeanor charges, delinquent youth, mental health or disability issues, and abuse or neglect.
  • Conduct research using law libraries or computer databases and develop strategic plans.
  • Draft legal documents and advise clients on legal matters.

Popular Employer Salaries for Public Defender

Career Paths

Explore the most common career paths for Public Defender. Thickness and color of lines indicates popularity of movement from one job to the next. Visit our career path planner to research other job paths.
Public Defender
Staff Attorney
Associate General Counsel
Attorney / Lawyer
More common (> 20%)
Somewhat common (8 - 20%)
Less common (< 8%)

Public Defender Job Listings

Popular Skills for Public Defender

Skills in Criminal, Client Interaction and Negotiation are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that pay less than market rate include Public Speaking and Legal Research.

Pay by Experience Level for Public Defender

An entry-level Public Defender with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $50,210 based on 23 salaries. An early career Public Defender with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $51,674 based on 90 salaries. A mid-career Public Defender with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $69,973 based on 33 salaries. An experienced Public Defender with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $74,358 based on 43 salaries. In their late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $78,243.
Employees with Public Defender in their job title in Los Angeles, California earn an average of 45.3% more than the national average. These job titles also find higher than average salaries in New York, New York (31.3% more). The lowest salaries can be found in Seattle, Washington (7.6% less), Atlanta, Georgia (7.6% less) and Phoenix, Arizona (2.7% less).

Years of Experience

This data is based on 218 survey responses.
Entry Level
Early Career
Mid Career
Late Career

Related Job Salaries

$33k - $70k
$50k - $157k
$49k - $123k
$36k - $83k
$30k - $65k
$30k - $71k
$40k - $86k
$40k - $76k