Becoming a criminal defense lawyer in L.A.
August 12, 2010 7:21 AM   Subscribe

I am a bankruptcy lawyer in Texas interested in moving to Los Angeles to practice criminal defense. I have significant criminal defense experience from earlier in my career. Could any of you familiar with the Los Angeles criminal courts system answer a few questions about how easy it is to "break in" as a newly arrived criminal defense attorney in L.A.?

(1) In some cities it is fairly easy for criminal defense attorneys to pick up work in the courthouse by just standing around, and potential clients will approach you. How viable is this in L.A.?
(2) Which courthouses are the busiest with criminal cases?
(3) Is there an easy way to get copies of the court dockets so that direct mail can be sent to potential clients?
(4) It appears that L.A.'s criminal cases are scattered throughout the many courthouses in the area. How do criminal defense attorneys balance competing obligations at these different courts?
(5) Colleagues who have practiced in Los Angeles, and California in general, say that it is pretty easy to get court-appointed criminal defense work. Is this true?
(6) Do you have any other tips for getting started as a criminal defense attorney in California?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Consider trekking over to L.A. and networking to get some answers. Start with calling the Cal Bar Criminal Law Section to see if they are doing any networking activities where you might meet some criminal defense attorneys.

I'm guessing you're weighing whether or not it's worth it to take the monster California Bar Exam. It's a big investment to take the exam and move out here from Texas, so it might be worth it to try to get chummy with the locals in the field to get first hand info.

I do no criminal work, but I make my way to courthouses that have criminal proceedings going on often enough. I've seen a few criminal proceedings. I've always wondered myself how one gets into criminal defense work. But, this is how I would start.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:30 PM on August 26, 2010

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