Hiring the right attorney isn’t easy, but can largely determine the outcome of your case. Attorney Carolyn Grimes explains the significant advantages of hiring a former public defender to take on your criminal or family law case.

1. Former public defenders have more extensive experience trying cases in court.

“The reality is, public defenders spend a lot of time in court,” explains Grimes. “They have experience balancing enormous caseloads, which is a huge asset because they are often extremely comfortable trying cases in court. Much more so than an attorney who only has experience in private practice is likely to be, working for the same amount of time.”

2. Former public defenders are familiar with diverse cases and backgrounds.

Especially in the DMV area, an attorney’s ability to navigate the diversity of the region is critical to success in the courtroom. “Public defenders learn how to work with people from all walks of life. They regularly interact with people of different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and who speak different languages,” says Grimes. “In a legal setting, knowing how to work well with diverse populations is a huge advantage in putting your case together because you never know what witness you might have or who is going to be on the opposing side.”

3. Former public defenders know how to interact with law enforcement.

“Attorneys with public defender backgrounds gain vast experience interacting with the police. They learn how to read police reports and how best to communicate with and obtain information from law enforcement,” says Grimes. “In cases with police involvement, it’s important that your lawyer knows how to properly deal with law enforcement.”

About the Author

This is a profile picture of family law attorney Carolyn M. Grimes.

Carolyn M. Grimes

Carolyn Grimes is a partner at Friedman, Grimes, Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law including divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, equitable distribution, retirement issues, and prenuptial agreements, among other areas.

Consistently named a ‘Best Lawyer’ (from 2014-2023), Ms. Grimes has also been honored as an AV Preeminent (2001-2022) and Gold Client Champion (2019-2021) by Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, she’s been named a Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine Magazine (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021), a Top Attorney by Arlington Magazine (2019-2021), and a Top Attorney by Washingtonian Magazine (2015) as well as many other top attorney designations.