I'm a deputy public defender in California and have been doing it for the better part of 2 decades now. What's a deputy public defender, you may ask? Well, despite the fact that it sounds so "law enforcement," all it means is that there is only Public Defender in our County, and we are deputies of that Public Defender - hence the term Deputy Public Defender.
I'm not a burnt out old dump truck (yet), but I'm also not that same "let's go burn down the system" person I was when I started. I've seen a lot, I've become jaded in some respects, but I still care deeply about the cause. I love helping a person out, I love the adversarial system where I get to take a side and fight relentlessly for that side, and I love outthinking DA's so - even when the system is so thoroughly stacked against me - I still end up pulling rabbits out of hats.
Even though I have no illusions about the guilt of many of my clients, I have no qualms fighting for them as hard as I can, and trying to either get them off or get them the best deal possible. In fact, I love it.
I still think it's the greatest law job around.....