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David J Nathanson

David J Nathanson (2.21 Miles)

44 Bromfield Street
Boston, MA 2108

Criminal/Defense Attorney, Litigation Lawyer
(617) 482-6212
John P Iwanicki

John P Iwanicki (2.35 Miles)

28 State Street
Boston, MA 02109-170

Intellectual Property Attorney, Litigation Attorney, Copyright Lawyer
(617) 720-9600
Timothy P Burke

Timothy P Burke (2.43 Miles)

One Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110-172

Business Attorney, Litigation Lawyer
(617) 951-8620
Gerald F Rath

Gerald F Rath (2.43 Miles)

One Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110-172

Litigation Lawyer
(617) 951-8534
Paul Marshall Harris

Paul Marshall Harris (2.45 Miles)

125 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02110-162

Business Attorney, Litigation Lawyer
(617) 345-3854
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Guide to Finding Government Lawyer

While many lawyers work for private firms, a number also work for the government at all levels: federal, state, and local. While perhaps the most well-known government lawyers are those working on criminal trials as prosecutors or public defenders, a government lawyer may also work for a city or town, or for a regulatory agency at the state or federal level.

Public Defenders: Protecting Your Rights

If you are charged with a crime, you are entitled to an attorney even if you cannot afford one of your own. The government lawyers who advocate for people who are unable to afford a lawyer are called public defenders. Usually working intense caseloads due to anemic state budgets, a government lawyer in the public defense office makes a significantly lower salary than a private-sector criminal defense counterpart.

Public defenders are often regarded negatively, sometimes by people who believe that by defending guilty people, the government lawyers are hurting society. However, public defenders typically see their role as protecting the Constitution, ensuring that all people have a right to competent representation by a government lawyer, even the poorest people.

Prosecutors and Plea Bargains

Prosecutors are government lawyers who work on the opposite side from public defenders. A prosecutor represents the state or federal government in bringing criminal charges against an accused person.

While fictional portrayals of prosecutors typically focus on trials, modern prosecutors very rarely actually see a full trial play out. Instead, many government lawyers will work on a plea bargain, in which the accused person admits being guilty of a lesser charge in exchange for the prosecutor dropping other charges. These kinds of plea bargains are much more common for a government lawyer to engage in than the kind of fierce, back-and-forth trials that make good television.

The Attorney General, which is the government office in charge of prosecutors, can also prosecute businesses and other organizations for criminal conduct. For instance, if your employer violated provisions of wage and hour law, speaking to your state's attorney general may result in your employer being fined by the AG's office.

Regulatory Agencies and Government Lawyers

Prosecutors and public defenders may have more famous roles, but there is another category of government lawyer working for federal and state governments. Regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the recently created Bureau of Consumer Protection all maintain a staff of government lawyers who specialize in the field that the agency regulates.

Regulatory agencies are responsible for ensuring that federal and state regulations on businesses are followed, and in most cases, government lawyers for regulatory agencies are highly-skilled specialists in their area of law. For instance, a government lawyer who works for the SEC is likely to have worked with securities in a private firm, while government lawyers at the EPA have years of experience in environmental law.

Government lawyers who work for regulatory agencies investigate businesses and organizations that are suspected of illegal activity—antitrust violations, deceptive practices, environmental destruction, insider trading—and bring cases against violators. These cases can result in heavy fines for companies who disregard regulations.

At the Patent and Trademark Office, another government agency, the government lawyers are often people who also trained as engineers or scientists. Only by understanding complex scientific topics can a government lawyer here sort out complicated intellectual property issues and settle patent disputes. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission government lawyers enforce anti-discrimination laws in American workplaces. Regulatory agencies recruit from top law schools, making agency jobs elite and highly regarded among practicing attorneys, who enjoy the government benefits and more traditional working schedule (private-sector attorneys regularly work dozens of hours of overtime each week, making a government lawyer job seem cushy by comparison).

The government agency that hires the largest number of lawyers is the Social Security Administration. Due to disability claims and attempts to prevent benefit fraud, the Social Security Administration currently employs over 20,000 government lawyers. The Department of Treasury, which includes America's tax agency, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), hires almost 20,000 government lawyers, many of whom are experts in taxation.

The Solicitor General: Defending the Government

When people need to go to court, they appoint a lawyer to represent them. When the United States federal government goes to court, the Solicitor General's office steps in. The Solicitor General is the government lawyer who represents the interests of the U.S. government to the Supreme Court. As such, the Solicitor General is a tremendously important government lawyer.

Also called the “tenth justice” because of how many times they appear before the nine justices of the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General delivers dozens of arguments in front of the highest court in the land. One of the most recent government lawyers to hold the position of Solicitor General was Elena Kagan, who became a Supreme Court justice during President Barack Obama's term.

Municipal Attorneys: Important and Close to Home

While news stories about attorneys tend to focus on high-profile criminal investigations, some of the most influential government lawyers in people's ordinary lives are those who work for cities, towns, and villages. A municipal attorney is a government lawyer who represents the interests of a municipality as it grows and develops. Most government lawyers work at this local level, rather than at the state or federal level.

Municipal attorneys, unlike government attorneys working for regulatory agencies or in criminal cases, need to know laws pertaining to a wide variety of topics. A typical government lawyer working for a small municipality needs to know and understand laws about zoning, labor relations, real estate, investment, governmental corruption, and administration of government, just to name a few. While this might seem like a burden, a government lawyer who prefers to be a generalist rather than a specialist might prefer the more varied pace of work that a municipality could offer to a more specialized role in a regulatory agency.

Finding a Government Lawyer

Unlike other types of lawyers, there is no way to just hire a government lawyer. They are employed by agencies and governments and assigned to cases as they arise.

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