The average salary for a Public Defender is $60,638.
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$43k - $97k
$251 - $10k
$0 - $728
$43k - $100k
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Job Description for Public Defender
Public defenders are lawyers who represent individual defendants for cases ranging from felonies and misdemeanors to traffic cases. Usually, a person must prove to the court the inability to pay a lawyer’s fees, and so the lawyer is paid by the government either as a regular employee or on a per-case basis depending on the needs of the state or municipality. Public defenders are required to appear in court to represent clients and often manage several trials at once. They should investigate the…Read more
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
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.
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.
Pay Difference by Location
Learn more about cost of living by city.
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.