July 06, 2008

It's not just a job, it's an adventure

Once, my kind were as numerous as the mighty bison and the migratory hippie, and we roamed the courtrooms of this land armed with our "liberalism" and our concern for the "underprivileged." Now the younglings are explaining to me this new path that we trod. From the law student at I Immediately Regret This Decision:

As of 8:30 AM on Monday I will be officially employed. I'm working for a local public defender but I don't know whether to be excited or bummed... What's funny about all this is that I hope to be a prosecutor once I graduate...

... to the guest blogger at Public Defender Dude:

First, to be a PD you have to kind of fall into it. The vast majority of PDs that I know in this day and age in California were not necessarily raised as "liberals" who like helping the "underprivileged," code in my book for minorities. That is something that happened in the sixties and the seventies. Some of those PDs are still around, even in my office. But not many.

No, where I am from the majority of PDs fell into criminal defense because they wanted a job and the PD hired. We have a number of people who wanted to work for the DA but couldn't get hired. We have a number who were civil and got tired of it and came to the PD. As I said, most just sort of fall into it...

... to keep my middle-aged p.d. head from shaking, I'm thinking of all the cool young lawyers who, rather than fall into indigent defense work, strive for it heartily and dive into it enthusiastically. I know they exist - I've worked with many, and hired a few myself. Others I know from reading their blogs.

(something that happened in 1988)


Anonymous said...

It must be something in the water.

The first guy never would have gotten past the first interview at my office.

The second guy might have gotten hired by my office, but I couldn't see him lasting too long.

It's sorta funny, I never really felt "old school" until I read both of those posts....


Anonymous said...

Wow, you quoted me. My first post at PD Dude and you quoted me. Not a very hopeful-sounding comment about the post, but I'm glad you read the blog.

I hope that you read the entirety of the post, and read other posts that I make. I won't run away from anything that I wrote, but I will defend it. I will add this much: I never trusted the "old liberals," and I still don't. Too many of them tried to be "authentic" and gave away their credibility in the proces. Too many became what they supposedly hated: conservatives without a conscience. But the truth is that the law in California has become an offensive mush that is so unfair and cruel that it is toxic. And too many of the "old liberals" just plain got too old, tired, and cynical to fight effectively.

In our profession we need people who are dedicated to the Constitution and what it stands for, and we need attorneys who eschew labels and instead are willing to fight for what's right - their clients and their rights. I'm sick of people spewing platitudes, but not recognizing that we have lost our collective rights, and not looking for ways to preserve what we have left and regain at least some of what we lost.

But thank you for your recognition of the PD Dude site. I hope you'll keep reading and keep me abreast of what you think. Fair criticism will do one thing for me: It will keep me honest.

BTW - I've been a Deputy PD since 1997.

Dennis Wilkins
Guest Blogger at PD Dude

JC said...

The "excited or bummed" quote was really about working vs. sleeping in and staying out late, not about the work. I'm excited to be back doing legal work after 6 weeks of not.