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A defense attorney is a practitioner in a court of law who is legally qualified to defend criminal actions.
There are primarily two different types of defense attorneys:
- Private-practice attorney: An attorney that has set up their own practice accepting clients or works for a law firm
- Assigned counsel: A private-practice attorney who is appointed by the courts to represent defendants that are indigent (aka unable to afford an attorney). Ex. 18-B Panel Attorneys
- Public defender: An attorney appointed by the courts and provided by the state or federal governments to represent people cannot afford to hire a private-practice attorney. Public defenders are full time attorneys employed by their respective governments. Examples of groups that provide this service are the Legal Aid Society and the New York County Defender Services