This classification includes government establishments primarily engaged in providing legal counsel to or prosecution for their governments and operation or administration of crime prevention programs. Government establishments primarily engaged in the collection of criminal justice statistics are classified in SIC 9229: Public Order and Safety, Not Elsewhere Classified.
Legal Counsel and Prosecution
Criminal practice and procedure is an area of law that encompasses both private and public employment. As further discussed, those accused of a crime may hire private legal counsel for their defense or, if they qualify as indigent, may request the trial court to appoint counsel for them ("public defenders"). Conversely, because all crimes, even if committed against individuals, are violations of local, state, or federal laws, all prosecuting and district attorneys are public employees at the local, state, or federal level.
According to the American Bar Association, lawyers held about 735,000 jobs in 2004, with about 25 percent holding salaried positions in government or with corporations or nonprofit organizations. Those working in government were largely employed at the local level. In the federal government, lawyers work for many different agencies, but they are concentrated in the departments of Justice, Treasury, and Defense. There were about 16,000 federal practitioners and more than 900 members of the bench in 2006.
Defense attorneys may represent clients accused of nearly any crime, including "white collar" offenses such as fraud, stock manipulation, or tax evasion. Many defense attorneys work for a local office of the public defender—a state or county government agency established to provide legal representation for accused who cannot afford to hire a private lawyer. Because the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to adequate legal counsel, many people use this service. In fact, some offices are overwhelmed by the number of people in need of legal representation, in which case the court appoints an attorney from a private law firm—compensated at a given rate at government expense—to represent the accused. Defense attorneys also come from private law firms or from legal aid clinics established to provide legal services to the poor. Finally, public interest organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the...