I have been practicing law for almost 12 years now since I graduated from Case Western Reserve Law School. I have accepted hundreds of court appointed criminal cases in 12 years from low-level misdemeanors to first-degree felonies. I have had family, friends, colleagues, and clients ask directly or indirectly, why do accept court appointments. I accept for many reasons, but I accept primarily for the following three reasons.
First, I honestly like helping people. It gives me a sense of satisfaction. These particular clients cannot afford an attorney and unfortunately, the Public Defender's Office does not have enough attorneys to take care of every client or their office has a prior conflict. So me and many other private attorneys help these clients. Like with all my other clients, I represent court appointed clients with all of my ability.
Second, I learn and gain experience from these cases. Each legal client is unique as well as each of their cases. I come across new issues that must be solved. I also use what I learned over the years to help other clients on their cases. I am a much better attorney as a result of taking appointed cases than I would be if I had not. Also, by accepting court appointments, I spend substantial amount of time around other attorneys. As a result, I learn a lot from them. At the same time, I learn a lot from many different judges. And yes, I even learn from prosecutors. I like to think they have all learned a little from me over the years as well.
Third, I have received a lot of referrals from court appointed clients, which have allowed me to help more people and to continue to learn and gain experience. This is the best compliment I can receive as an attorney.