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Why Should You Hire a Former Prosecutor?

You are a citizen accused of a crime. A prosecutor, the lawyer for the government, is trying to take away your liberty. Why should you hire someone who used to be one of them? Won't they have a tougher time feeling for you and what you're going through?

Many lawyers who have never been prosecutors will tell you that this is a strength. They will say that they give better representation because they have alway been defense lawyers. This is not true. What you want is the most skilled and accomplished lawyer, regardless of their background. When your life and liberty is on the line, you don't need your lawyer to "feel your pain," you need an oustanding lawyer who will maximize positive outcomes and minimize or eliminate negative ones with his ability and knowledge of the law. With few exceptions, prosecutors get more experience and training in less time than almost anyone who starts outdoing defense work. This is a function of volume and turnover. By necessity,D.A.'s Offices must give large caseloads and responsibilities to young lawyers.As a result, young prosecutors get tons of hours of continuing legal education that they do not have to pay for out of their own pocket, and they try a ton of cases, especially in larger jurisdictions like Dallas County. One year in misdemeanor in Dallas County could yield 50 jury trials for a young prosecutor. One year in felony could yield 10-15 jury trials for a hard-working young prosecutor. It would take several years or more for a defense lawyer starting out to approach this number of jury trials.

Turnover also mandates that young prosecutors get promoted through the ranks very rapidly. In places like Dallas, it is not uncommon that 2nd and 3rd year lawyers are prosecuting first degree felonies, including rape, murder, and large dope cases! A second or third year defense lawyer (who has never been a prosecutor) will almost never have enough trial experience (let alone be given the opportunity through a retained client or court appointment) to try major cases. Multiply that experience over years or decades, prosecutors can rack up an amazing amount of experience and ability compared to their counterparts who started out as defense lawyers.

The ultimate measure of a criminal case is how a judge or jury is likely to view the evidence. Only vast amounts of experience in handling and trying cases, day in and day out, can equip a lawyer with this wisdom. With few exceptions, former prosecutors have much more trial experience than lawyers with the same number of years practicing law who have never been prosecutors.

All that said, be wary of lawyers who advertise themselves to be former prosecutors and they never promoted out of misdemeanor or were only in felony for a short time. They may not have learned much, yet.

By Brian Corrigan
Board Certified Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney
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