Each and every US citizen has the right to an attorney. If you have been arrested, charged or facing an offense where a lawyer should be present, then there will be a handful of options that will present themselves in due course.
One will be to find and locate a lawyer from the open market. Perhaps you know the individual and enjoy a prior relationship, or you simply sourced a name that has the skillset and experience to handle the case in question.
Another option is to take an early plea and ignore an attorney altogether. A radical approach is to defend yourself in a court of law, a scenario that has a minimal degree of success.
The resort that will be adopted by most who do not have the means of finding their own attorney is taking on a court-appointed lawyer.
Whilst this is not a dire scenario, it still carries certain disadvantages.
Lack of Experience
A healthy portion of court-appointed lawyers are those professionals who are looking for experience, either through pro bono cases or via the court system. Specialists that have the background and experience to justify their billing won’t be located on these lists and that added knowledge and awareness can make a significant difference in the final determination.
A court-appointed lawyer will likely be juggling multiple cases without the help of a well-resourced law firm that can invest in their expertise. They will have to undertake their own research efforts without the technology or paralegal support that the opposition might enjoy.
As a client, you should not judge a book by its cover. Just as you would wish a judge or jury to hear the evidence before making a concluding argument, there is no need to dismiss a court-appointed attorney on the basis that they are yet to earn a stellar reputation or charge hundreds of dollars per hour.
However, the end game is all the client will really care about when a case is before the court – a scenario where sentiment cannot and should not come into play. From all the evidence that has been gleaned from various scholars and legal experts, you have a stronger chance of success in a courtroom if you can source an attorney that is a specialist in the field that has been acquired off your own accord.
From the initial four options that will be available to a defendant, a court-appointed lawyer should reside only marginally behind a lawyer that you have sourced yourself. It is not ideal, but far removed from the alternatives.