Thursday, August 12, 2004

I am so. angry.

Romney cries injustice, blames public defenders.

The economics of being a public defender.

I cannot even believe that the governor would blame the public defenders for not being able to afford to take assigned counsel cases, and THEN blame the release of the accused on the public defender. This makes me hella angry.


C Dog said...

Let C Diggety rattle off a few figures: $37.50 X 40 hours/week X 50 weeks each year = $75,000. Pardon Governor Romney and the rest of us MA residents (who foot the bill) who think that it’s a bit absurd that a public defender cannot get by on $75,000—and that’s for handling the “simplest” cases.

But, assuming that the attorneys cannot make it on this, far more cost efficient would be for MA to maintain a highly qualified public defenders office.

There are two real problems here, though. First, it appears as if these attorneys who all of a sudden just up and decided to stop accepting cases are engaged in a restraint of trade under the Sherman Antitrust Act (unless, of course, they all just happened to decide this on their own). Second, as I’ve said time and time again, the legal profession’s restraint of trade itself is to blame. Four years of undergraduate studies, plus three years of law school, plus a bar review class, plus $1,000 MA bar application fee, plus the bar exam—all of this weeds out capable folks who would work for far less than $37.50/hour. The problem, then, is not the pay rate, it’s the supply of attorneys in the market. There needs to be more of them to bring prices down.

WomanoftheLaw said...

Good job, CDiggety, on demonstrating your multiplication skills.
Next time, include the cost of overhead. You're telling me that a law office incurs zero expenses? Because if all I have to do is sign up to get that whopping $37.50 an hour, then woohoo! Additionally, we're talking billable hours, not just hours at work. And when was the last time you worked 40 hrs a week, 50 weeks a year? What about sick time? Benefits? And of course these attorneys aren't stupid enough to band together and say, we collectively refuse to accept cases. They're doing it individually to avoid the antitrust issue.
Please, do not go around pretending that public defenders make $75k a year. You know that's not true.