Understanding The Differences Between Private Counsel vs Public Defender

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and are consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s Best Criminal Defense Firms. We treat our clients like family with a non-judgmental approach. Knowledge is power in any situation. We are here to help educate you about your circumstances. Use our resources below to contact us and learn how we can help you.

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What Are the Benefits of Hiring Private Counsel vs Public Defender?

When facing criminal charges, individuals are confronted with the incredibly important decision of choosing between private counsel or relying on the services of a public defender. Although hiring a public defender may initially seem appealing because of the cost savings, it can quickly become apparent that there can be significant drawbacks to going this route. Understanding the benefits of both private counsel and public defenders can help individuals make informed decisions about their legal representation and ultimately choose the lawyer that will give them the best chance at a favorable outcome.

Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer Near You

Our criminal defense attorneys pride themselves on building a strong defense that that our client’s charges will be reduced or dismissed. We represent defendants facing charges of all kinds from drug possession and trafficking, domestic violence, and assault charges to white collar crimes or traffic tickets, in and around Columbus, Ohio. Our defense lawyers give our clients personalized attention and know how to craft a strong defense so you can get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Contact our Columbus criminal defense lawyers online or call (614) 444-1900 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced defense attorney.


Benefits of Private Counsel

There are many advantages to retaining private counsel to fight for you after you have been charged with a crime. Some of these include:

1. Personalized Attention – Private attorneys handle fewer cases than public defenders. This allows them to offer more personalized attention to each client. A public defender will typically have anywhere from 10-30 cases a day cross their desk. This leaves them overburdened and simply unable to give each case the attention it needs. At our Ohio law firm we take on much fewer cases so that we can give your case the attention it deserves to be able to tailor a legal strategy that will be effective, for example if you and your spouse have been charged with a crime that will require a different strategy than if you have been charged alone.

2. Expertise – Private criminal defense attorneys frequently specialize in specific areas of the law such as DUI, drug crimes, or domestic violence cases. Public defenders are required to take on whatever case comes their way and as such they may not always have the expertise in that type of case to create the strongest defense possible. The expertise our lawyers bring can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of the legal system and crafting a defense strategy that aligns with the nuances of the case.

3. Experience – Much of the time lawyers will serve as public defenders as their first job coming out of University. This means that they are new to trial law and lack the experience that an established private law office will have. Our law office has almost 15 years of experience that we bring to the table. Not only do these years of experience mean we’ve tried thousands of cases, it also means that we have a reputation and good working relationships with the prosecutors and judges in the jurisdictions we serve in. These relationships are an invaluable asset when it comes to negotiating on behalf of our clients.

4. Resource Allocation – Public defenders simply don’t have the same type of resources that a private law office does. The average public defender works on a 1:4 ratio with their support staff whereas we have a 1:1 ratio. Every lawyer has their own paralegal to help prepare every case they take on. We rely on teamwork and the expertise of other lawyers in our firm to jump in on bigger cases offering more brain power to complex legal issues. We also have a great many other resources at our disposal, including the ability to hire investigators, and expert witnesses. This can contribute to a more thorough and robust defense strategy.

5. Communication – Because public defenders have so many cases going at once they are almost always in court. They have very little time to speak with their client on the phone let alone have a sit down conversation with them about their case. It can be stressful to be involved in a criminal case and lack of communication can leave you feeling unsure about your case and about your future. Because our law office has the necessary resources and due to a reduced workload we are able to get back to our clients quickly and sit down with them to discuss their case as needed. We can also provide greater flexibility in scheduling meetings and consultations, offering more accessibility to clients throughout the legal process.

The main benefit in choosing a public defender is the cost consideration. It is undoubtedly cheaper to hire a public defender out of the gate, however these cost savings can quickly be negated by other factors such as if you are found guilty and end up having to pay substantial fines. In the long run the cost of hiring a private defender is worth it compared to any of the perceived benefits of hiring a public defender. Much of the time we see clients at our Columbus law firm who have started with a public defender and become frustrated with their lack of communication or how their case is being handled and want to make a switch. Although we always try to accommodate, it is at a deficit to our clients to be brought into a case late in the game. The strongest defense comes when we are hired right at the beginning of a case.

Private Counsel vs Public Defender: The Choice Is Clear

While public defenders play an important role in the justice system, making sure that every individual has access to legal defense their job is a tough one and they are often overburdened by too many cases and a lack of resources. When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of a private lawyer, the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages. As such, it is always recommended that a person retain the services of private counsel if it is financially possible for them to do so. At the Joslyn Law Firm we are proud of the expert legal services we provide to our clients and how hard we fight to make sure that their rights are protected. If you have been charged with a crime we offer free case consultations so that you can weigh your options and determine the best course of action for your case.

Contact our Columbus law office today online or call (614) 444-1900 to set up an appointment to speak about your criminal charges in Franklin County or another Ohio county, including Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and Fairfield County.


  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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