My Shingle

Court Appointed Work Is Not Supposed To Be A Full Time Job!

by Carolyn Elefant on July 22, 2005 · 42 comments

in Business Models, Criminal Law, Practice & Policy, What Solos Earn

Print Friendly

Well after all of the controversy, looks like the Massachusetts legislature will raise rates for court appointed attorneys as reported here in State House OK’s Raises for Lawyers for the Poor, David Abel (July 22, 2005).  According to the article, lawmakers will increase court appointed rates to $100 an hour from $61.50 for homicide cases; to $60 per hour from $46.50 for nonhomicide Superior Court cases, including sexually dangerous persons cases; and to $50 per hour from $37.50 for district court cases and children in need of services cases, as well as children and family law cases, sex offender registry, and mental health cases.  However, the plan also caps the number of hours that each attorney can bill, to 1400 annually.  Thus, the maximum that attorneys can earn from court appointed work annually would range from $70,000 (handling lower end cases) to $84,500 (at the upper end).

You’d think that the Massachusetts lawyers would be grateful for the generous pay increase, but they’re still complaining:

”In order to do this work well, you have to do it a lot,”
said Joss Filiault, an attorney from Concord who worked about 1,800
hours as a bar advocate during the last fiscal year. ”It’s difficult
work that requires expertise. There seems to be an attitude in the
Legislature that it’s bad to do this work as your primary work. I don’t
understand that.”

But here’s the thing:  no one is stopping attorneys like Filiault from
handling other cases that might pay $200/hour.  And even if lawyers
believe that they need to focus full time on criminal work to keep
skills intact, well, hello – there are many clients who will actually
pay lawyers, quite generously, for representation in criminal matters.
Think the late Johnnie Cochran or Thomas Mesereau.  They handled
criminal work and certainly weren’t getting $60 an hour for it.

Court appointed lawyers can’t expect a guaranteed stream of revenue at
private rates.  It’s a trade off.  If lawyers want the security of a
flow of cases for which they don’t have to advertise or market, then
they can settle for court appointed work at a lower rate.  If they want
to make more, then they need to go out and find the clients who are
going to pay – and stop asking the captive ones to fork up even more
money.

And as I’ve always said, court appointed work is interesting and a good way to pay the rent early on or even a way to do work that’s got a pro bono element without working entirely for free.  But if you want to step up to a successful practice, your plan has got to include weaning yourself from court appointed work.  After all, why limit yourself to $84,000 a year when you could possibly make ten times that much?

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/07/23#a4347 f/k/a . . . .

    does Bar Advocate = Greedy Lawyer?

    The last thing I wanted to do this weekend is to break my July

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/07/23#a4347 f/k/a . . . .

    does Bar Advocate = Greedy Lawyer?

    The last thing I wanted to do this weekend is to break my July

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/07/23#a4347 f/k/a

    does Bar Advocate = Greedy Lawyer?

    Lawyers taking assigned counsel cases to represent the indigent in MA are continuing their illegal and unethical boycott of new cases, despite bills passed last week that would mean an 81%

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/07/23#a4347 f/k/a

    does Bar Advocate = Greedy Lawyer?

    Lawyers taking assigned counsel cases to represent the indigent in MA are continuing their illegal and unethical boycott of new cases, despite bills passed last week that would mean an 81%

  • Stephen

    Seems a damn site better than the Louisiana rates. It’s been awhile since I checked but I believe the state public defenders boards suggested rate for appointed defenders is $17.50/hour. Not really worth doing unless you have no overhead and nothing better to do.
    Stephen

  • Stephen

    Seems a damn site better than the Louisiana rates. It’s been awhile since I checked but I believe the state public defenders boards suggested rate for appointed defenders is $17.50/hour. Not really worth doing unless you have no overhead and nothing better to do.
    Stephen

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Many bar advocates do not have the slightest hope of making more than $70,000 per year from private clients — they either practice in rural counties where there are too many lawyers per capita, or they do not have the reputation, skills or drive to make it in private practice. Whether it is their geographic choice or their professional shortcomings that limit their prospects, lawyers should not demand that the public subsidize their career and lifestyle. And, it goes without saying, that they should not break the law with joint boycotts to coerce higher fees.

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Many bar advocates do not have the slightest hope of making more than $70,000 per year from private clients — they either practice in rural counties where there are too many lawyers per capita, or they do not have the reputation, skills or drive to make it in private practice. Whether it is their geographic choice or their professional shortcomings that limit their prospects, lawyers should not demand that the public subsidize their career and lifestyle. And, it goes without saying, that they should not break the law with joint boycotts to coerce higher fees.

  • Al

    Yeah, it’s not supposed to be full time work but when the court forces cases on you, you have no choice but to take them if you signed a contract to be a bar advocate. You seem to want to blame the lawyers for this crisis when the legislature is to blame, not us.
    Maybe there are $200 an hour cases falling off the trees in DC but not in Mass, and certainly not in the Springfield area which is the worst hit by this crisis. If you factor in the cost of living, Massachusetts bar advocates are the worst paid in the nation. This proposed pay increase moves us up one or two places.
    http://www.bristolcpcs.org/judgevcpcs2.php?yaxis=18&xaxis=-2&Action=Graph&yadj=1
    By the way, lawyers are going bankrupt because of the high cost of living and low bar advocate pay in this state.
    http://www.bristolcpcs.org/MLW20050627A.html

  • Al

    Yeah, it’s not supposed to be full time work but when the court forces cases on you, you have no choice but to take them if you signed a contract to be a bar advocate. You seem to want to blame the lawyers for this crisis when the legislature is to blame, not us.
    Maybe there are $200 an hour cases falling off the trees in DC but not in Mass, and certainly not in the Springfield area which is the worst hit by this crisis. If you factor in the cost of living, Massachusetts bar advocates are the worst paid in the nation. This proposed pay increase moves us up one or two places.
    http://www.bristolcpcs.org/judgevcpcs2.php?yaxis=18&xaxis=-2&Action=Graph&yadj=1
    By the way, lawyers are going bankrupt because of the high cost of living and low bar advocate pay in this state.
    http://www.bristolcpcs.org/MLW20050627A.html

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/04/04#a3607 f/k/a . . . .

    will MACAA react like a guild to indigent defense report?

    The Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys (MACAA) issued

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/04/04#a3607 f/k/a . . . .

    will MACAA react like a guild to indigent defense report?

    The Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys (MACAA) issued

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Al, If you have figures about how many bar advocates bill over 1400 hours annually, I’d like to hear about it. For now, let’s insert some real numbers into this discussion. According to the Overwork Chart posted at the website you have suggested I read, the average billed by each Bar Advocate in FY2004 was $33,147. In the 6 counties where it’s hardest to find bar advocates and panel members have the highest workloads, the average dollar amount billed by each bar advocate in FY2004 was $37,694.
    Under the bills passed by both houses of the Legislature, the limit of 1400 hours per year would yield, as Carolyn notes, $70,000 for the lowest level of cases; $84,000 for major felonies; and $140,000 for murder cases.
    This makes cries that the 1400-hour cap is really a stealth income reduction typical bar advocate half-truth. (See SouthCoastToday article; and the Letter to the Editor by MACAA’s Deborah Sirotkin Butler, Cape Code Times, July 23, 2005).
    The fact that bar advocates want to make more than that is not sufficient reason for the taxpayer to pay more, nor for these “officers of the court” to violate antitrust laws and ethical standards to achieve their goals. An 81% fee hike over the past two years should suffice for now.

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Al, If you have figures about how many bar advocates bill over 1400 hours annually, I’d like to hear about it. For now, let’s insert some real numbers into this discussion. According to the Overwork Chart posted at the website you have suggested I read, the average billed by each Bar Advocate in FY2004 was $33,147. In the 6 counties where it’s hardest to find bar advocates and panel members have the highest workloads, the average dollar amount billed by each bar advocate in FY2004 was $37,694.
    Under the bills passed by both houses of the Legislature, the limit of 1400 hours per year would yield, as Carolyn notes, $70,000 for the lowest level of cases; $84,000 for major felonies; and $140,000 for murder cases.
    This makes cries that the 1400-hour cap is really a stealth income reduction typical bar advocate half-truth. (See SouthCoastToday article; and the Letter to the Editor by MACAA’s Deborah Sirotkin Butler, Cape Code Times, July 23, 2005).
    The fact that bar advocates want to make more than that is not sufficient reason for the taxpayer to pay more, nor for these “officers of the court” to violate antitrust laws and ethical standards to achieve their goals. An 81% fee hike over the past two years should suffice for now.

  • http://67.225.230.212/~sh1ngl3 Carolyn Elefant

    I’m guessing that if $200/hr cases aren’t “falling off the trees” in Springfield, then the cost of living or office space probably isn’t as high as in the DC area. Granted, $200/hr work – or even $150/hr work doesn’t fall off trees in the DC area; people have to market for it, but it is there – and that’s about market for this area.
    Second, I tend to agree with David that the public shouldn’t be expected to subsidize private choices. I specialize in energy regulatory work. It’s mildly interesting but not nearly as much fun as civil rights actions or the court appointed work that I used to do when I opened my firm. But it pays better than anything else that I can find. I could choose to focus on constitutional and civil rights issues but I might also wind up making $20,000 a year. That would be my choice.
    The one situation where I’d agree that there is compulsion is if bar advocates are forced to sign up to take cases. If there’s a shortage of court appointed lawyers, then any lawyer – from bar advocate to large firm advocate – should be required to fill the gap.

  • http://67.225.230.212/~sh1ngl3 Carolyn Elefant

    I’m guessing that if $200/hr cases aren’t “falling off the trees” in Springfield, then the cost of living or office space probably isn’t as high as in the DC area. Granted, $200/hr work – or even $150/hr work doesn’t fall off trees in the DC area; people have to market for it, but it is there – and that’s about market for this area.
    Second, I tend to agree with David that the public shouldn’t be expected to subsidize private choices. I specialize in energy regulatory work. It’s mildly interesting but not nearly as much fun as civil rights actions or the court appointed work that I used to do when I opened my firm. But it pays better than anything else that I can find. I could choose to focus on constitutional and civil rights issues but I might also wind up making $20,000 a year. That would be my choice.
    The one situation where I’d agree that there is compulsion is if bar advocates are forced to sign up to take cases. If there’s a shortage of court appointed lawyers, then any lawyer – from bar advocate to large firm advocate – should be required to fill the gap.

  • Al

    You want to talk numbers? It costs $40.00 to run a law office in MA. So at $50.00 an hour I would net less than the assistant manager of Wendy’s before taxes.
    Plus you’re being short sighted. The taxpayers are going to pay one way or the other because indigent defense is mandated by the constitution. Either they will pay bar advocates or hire more public defenders. Either way the taxpayer is going to have to pay.

  • Al

    You want to talk numbers? It costs $40.00 to run a law office in MA. So at $50.00 an hour I would net less than the assistant manager of Wendy’s before taxes.
    Plus you’re being short sighted. The taxpayers are going to pay one way or the other because indigent defense is mandated by the constitution. Either they will pay bar advocates or hire more public defenders. Either way the taxpayer is going to have to pay.

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Al, You seem to have the faulty premise that the State should cover the overhead of private attorneys who choose to take assigned counsel work. Private work should be covering most overhead. Then, each individual lawyer should be deciding if the assigned counsel fees (1) cover the lawyer’s marginal cost for taking such; or (2) are otherwise adequate, due to the training gained or the public service involved.
    Also, your $40 per hour figure for overhead is pulled out of a hat. How about some specifics on where the number comes from? Lawyers who want to have the bulk of their income coming from the State, should figure out ways to have less than the $6000 nut per month that your figure implies. They Also, they shouldn’t count depreciation “costs” or health care insurance as office overhead.
    As far as the public paying one way or the other, employing public defenders is looking more and more attractive as an option.
    Carolyn, I am not sure that I agree that emergency appointments should include people who have no experience in criminal courts (or any courts). That’s not doing the client any favor and may really gum up the judicial process. District Court misdemeanors might not consistently require a high level of legal skills, but there is a learning curve.
    Furthermore, if the emergency exists due to boycotts coordinated by the bar advocates, it is hard to have a lot of sympathy when they get drafted into taking emergency caseloads.

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq David Giacalone

    Al, You seem to have the faulty premise that the State should cover the overhead of private attorneys who choose to take assigned counsel work. Private work should be covering most overhead. Then, each individual lawyer should be deciding if the assigned counsel fees (1) cover the lawyer’s marginal cost for taking such; or (2) are otherwise adequate, due to the training gained or the public service involved.
    Also, your $40 per hour figure for overhead is pulled out of a hat. How about some specifics on where the number comes from? Lawyers who want to have the bulk of their income coming from the State, should figure out ways to have less than the $6000 nut per month that your figure implies. They Also, they shouldn’t count depreciation “costs” or health care insurance as office overhead.
    As far as the public paying one way or the other, employing public defenders is looking more and more attractive as an option.
    Carolyn, I am not sure that I agree that emergency appointments should include people who have no experience in criminal courts (or any courts). That’s not doing the client any favor and may really gum up the judicial process. District Court misdemeanors might not consistently require a high level of legal skills, but there is a learning curve.
    Furthermore, if the emergency exists due to boycotts coordinated by the bar advocates, it is hard to have a lot of sympathy when they get drafted into taking emergency caseloads.

  • Katherine

    A great deal of this discussion misses the point. The focus should not be on the attorneys but on the clients. The constitution guarantees a certain level of competence and representation in criminal cases. And most, if not all, states require some representation in certain types of civil cases where the state is infringing upon “natural” rights.
    If the state is not paying an adequately competitive rate the market will adjust and attorneys will leave those areas of practice. Most of us who engage in this type of work do not expect to get rich but we do need to pay the bills. Many of us did not go into it with the intention of making it full time. However, shortages of attorneys grow as a result of the market forces (poor rates) and then the burden falls more heavily on those who still engage in the work.
    When you work regularly in a court it is hard to say no to a clerk or judge who asks you to take a case. You risk not getting cases later when you actually do have the time in your schedule and want the work. And you risk many other “difficulties” when you bring other cases before the court.
    In the juvenile court on the civil side there is almost no private market. Rich people simply don’t have their children removed with any regularity and ALL children are deemed indigent for purposes of representation. To do these cases is to specialize. And even if you have a family law practice these cases can hamstring much of your ability to schedule other cases in other courts. Mostly the juvenile court judges try to be understanding but they can end up undermining the juvenile system with too much tolerance.
    In the end it is imperative that the legislature realizes that the public does have an affirmative obligation to pay for the cost of indigent representation. If the government does not pay a reasonable and fair rate then very few will want to do the work and the legislature will have failed in its constitutional obligations.
    Somewhere along the line in Massachusetts a few responsible attorneys decided that they needed to make the crises real to the legislature and the general public who do not live and work in the courts and see the shortages and abuses. For this they got ordered to continue to work for the same meagar wages and then got told they should not do it so much all in the same breath. Hypocritical and insulting at best.
    So yes, those of your fellow attorneys who have hung on doing this work are deserving of your respect, gratitude (because YOU are not being ordered to do it) and sympathy. They also deserve a fair rate paid by the general citizenry through taxes and not a fee imposed on other attorneys as is being contemplated by recent MA legislation.
    Perhaps we should lobby the legislature to have the doctors pay for medicaid. The see what happens to your health insurance costs!

  • Katherine

    A great deal of this discussion misses the point. The focus should not be on the attorneys but on the clients. The constitution guarantees a certain level of competence and representation in criminal cases. And most, if not all, states require some representation in certain types of civil cases where the state is infringing upon “natural” rights.
    If the state is not paying an adequately competitive rate the market will adjust and attorneys will leave those areas of practice. Most of us who engage in this type of work do not expect to get rich but we do need to pay the bills. Many of us did not go into it with the intention of making it full time. However, shortages of attorneys grow as a result of the market forces (poor rates) and then the burden falls more heavily on those who still engage in the work.
    When you work regularly in a court it is hard to say no to a clerk or judge who asks you to take a case. You risk not getting cases later when you actually do have the time in your schedule and want the work. And you risk many other “difficulties” when you bring other cases before the court.
    In the juvenile court on the civil side there is almost no private market. Rich people simply don’t have their children removed with any regularity and ALL children are deemed indigent for purposes of representation. To do these cases is to specialize. And even if you have a family law practice these cases can hamstring much of your ability to schedule other cases in other courts. Mostly the juvenile court judges try to be understanding but they can end up undermining the juvenile system with too much tolerance.
    In the end it is imperative that the legislature realizes that the public does have an affirmative obligation to pay for the cost of indigent representation. If the government does not pay a reasonable and fair rate then very few will want to do the work and the legislature will have failed in its constitutional obligations.
    Somewhere along the line in Massachusetts a few responsible attorneys decided that they needed to make the crises real to the legislature and the general public who do not live and work in the courts and see the shortages and abuses. For this they got ordered to continue to work for the same meagar wages and then got told they should not do it so much all in the same breath. Hypocritical and insulting at best.
    So yes, those of your fellow attorneys who have hung on doing this work are deserving of your respect, gratitude (because YOU are not being ordered to do it) and sympathy. They also deserve a fair rate paid by the general citizenry through taxes and not a fee imposed on other attorneys as is being contemplated by recent MA legislation.
    Perhaps we should lobby the legislature to have the doctors pay for medicaid. The see what happens to your health insurance costs!

  • Mary

    The Judiciary Committee appointed a commission to study indigent representation and fair pay for bar advocates. The commission recommended that bar advocates be paid at the 75% and for district court and proposed $50 in fiscal 2006, $55 in 2007 and $60 in 2008 until the pay reached the 75%, where it should remain. The legislature responded by giving a raise to $50, not to be reviewed for 3 years. The legislature asked the commission to determine what fair pay is and then gave less. Why would anyone, never mind a professional advocate, accept unfair treatment? Would you advise a client to accept it?

  • Mary

    The Judiciary Committee appointed a commission to study indigent representation and fair pay for bar advocates. The commission recommended that bar advocates be paid at the 75% and for district court and proposed $50 in fiscal 2006, $55 in 2007 and $60 in 2008 until the pay reached the 75%, where it should remain. The legislature responded by giving a raise to $50, not to be reviewed for 3 years. The legislature asked the commission to determine what fair pay is and then gave less. Why would anyone, never mind a professional advocate, accept unfair treatment? Would you advise a client to accept it?

  • /Deborah Sirotkin Butler

    I admit that my initial response to the new legislation was very negative. I still have concerns, and I consider them valid concerns. But my most recently published letter to the editor was this one:
    “Innocent until proven guilty” is the cornerstone of American Democracy. Thus, access to zealous representation for the indigent, has been the goal when providing court-appointed attorneys in Massachusetts for those who cannot afford their own attorney. This is true whether than court-appointed attorney is a public defender, who is a salaried employee of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or a private attorney working as an independent contractor and paid through the funding of line item 0321-1510.
    Today, the public defenders remain woefully underpaid, as most of their salaries hover around thirty five thousand dollars a year; though that thirty five thousand does include health insurance, and state pensions. These public defender salaries remain about ten thousand dollars under similar positions in the executive branch, which has led to the loss of at least 64 of the current 120 public defenders in the last four years. This is a terrible loss of experience and training to the Commonwealth.
    The passage of recent legislation raised the payment for a tiny fraction of cases, the murder list cases, to $100.00 per hour for private counsel. This is a movement, certainly, toward fair compensation that should lead to retention and increase of attorneys on the murder list panel.
    However, the vast number of court appointed cases will now be billed at $50.00 an hour. The cases billed at $50.00 an hour comprise more than 75% of all court appointed cases. These cases include defending parents in termination of parental rights cases, which can involve 15 or more days of trial, and hundreds of hours of preparation tying up an attorney’s total law practice.
    It is important to realize that when attorneys must wait for four or five hours at a juvenile court, for one case, those attorneys will only be paid for one hour of their time spent waiting. Only time will be able to show whether these increased rates, which (2004 and 2005) together are the largest rate increase in twenty years because there was no rate increase for the prior twenty years, will be sufficient to guarantee access to justice for the indigent, and zealous representation. In a capitalist system, the market itself will show whether or not what was done will be successful; no one can know today.
    The Commission itself recommended increases the next two years, with a goal that rates in the Commonwealth should reach the 75% percentile for rates paid to private attorneys appointed to represent the indigent, nationwide. I hope that the legislature will also follow these recommendations.
    As for the pilot programs, these are not really necessary. Such programs have been done in the past. The information is already available in fling cabinets. Certainly, the reporting and other requirements from them are financially burdensome on the limited staff of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). It makes far more sense to raise the salaries for public defenders to parity with the executive branch attorneys who are in similar roles, such as at the Department of Social Services and Department of Revenue. Where CPCS has trouble retaining staff now, and no increase has been funded or legislated for their long-suffering and underpaid staff, how will CPCS find and retain 120 more attorneys at these inadequate salaries?
    There are many other complex provisions in the new legislation. It will take time, likewise, to see how these provisions will work. Nonetheless, it is exciting to see attention paid to the right to counsel.
    As long as the result is that “innocent until proven guilty” is upheld, all will be well. Zealous representation for all citizens, whether or not they can afford to retain attorneys, and open access to the courts is fundamental to the Constitution written by John Adams. Open access to the courts must remain the prime goal of the legal profession.
    I am grateful that the legislature acted. It is the poor who were being hurt. By acting, the legislature did not allow this crisis, and the harm to vulnerable indigent citizens, to continue into the fall. Now the legal profession can only watch and wait to see how the legislature’s remedy will fare as it is put into place by CPCS, the probation departments, and the courts.
    Deborah Sirotkin Butler, Esq.
    BBO#544897
    19 Overlook Road
    Arlington, MA 02474
    781 641 9939 (land line)
    617 645 9458 (Cell phone)

  • /Deborah Sirotkin Butler

    I admit that my initial response to the new legislation was very negative. I still have concerns, and I consider them valid concerns. But my most recently published letter to the editor was this one:
    “Innocent until proven guilty” is the cornerstone of American Democracy. Thus, access to zealous representation for the indigent, has been the goal when providing court-appointed attorneys in Massachusetts for those who cannot afford their own attorney. This is true whether than court-appointed attorney is a public defender, who is a salaried employee of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or a private attorney working as an independent contractor and paid through the funding of line item 0321-1510.
    Today, the public defenders remain woefully underpaid, as most of their salaries hover around thirty five thousand dollars a year; though that thirty five thousand does include health insurance, and state pensions. These public defender salaries remain about ten thousand dollars under similar positions in the executive branch, which has led to the loss of at least 64 of the current 120 public defenders in the last four years. This is a terrible loss of experience and training to the Commonwealth.
    The passage of recent legislation raised the payment for a tiny fraction of cases, the murder list cases, to $100.00 per hour for private counsel. This is a movement, certainly, toward fair compensation that should lead to retention and increase of attorneys on the murder list panel.
    However, the vast number of court appointed cases will now be billed at $50.00 an hour. The cases billed at $50.00 an hour comprise more than 75% of all court appointed cases. These cases include defending parents in termination of parental rights cases, which can involve 15 or more days of trial, and hundreds of hours of preparation tying up an attorney’s total law practice.
    It is important to realize that when attorneys must wait for four or five hours at a juvenile court, for one case, those attorneys will only be paid for one hour of their time spent waiting. Only time will be able to show whether these increased rates, which (2004 and 2005) together are the largest rate increase in twenty years because there was no rate increase for the prior twenty years, will be sufficient to guarantee access to justice for the indigent, and zealous representation. In a capitalist system, the market itself will show whether or not what was done will be successful; no one can know today.
    The Commission itself recommended increases the next two years, with a goal that rates in the Commonwealth should reach the 75% percentile for rates paid to private attorneys appointed to represent the indigent, nationwide. I hope that the legislature will also follow these recommendations.
    As for the pilot programs, these are not really necessary. Such programs have been done in the past. The information is already available in fling cabinets. Certainly, the reporting and other requirements from them are financially burdensome on the limited staff of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS). It makes far more sense to raise the salaries for public defenders to parity with the executive branch attorneys who are in similar roles, such as at the Department of Social Services and Department of Revenue. Where CPCS has trouble retaining staff now, and no increase has been funded or legislated for their long-suffering and underpaid staff, how will CPCS find and retain 120 more attorneys at these inadequate salaries?
    There are many other complex provisions in the new legislation. It will take time, likewise, to see how these provisions will work. Nonetheless, it is exciting to see attention paid to the right to counsel.
    As long as the result is that “innocent until proven guilty” is upheld, all will be well. Zealous representation for all citizens, whether or not they can afford to retain attorneys, and open access to the courts is fundamental to the Constitution written by John Adams. Open access to the courts must remain the prime goal of the legal profession.
    I am grateful that the legislature acted. It is the poor who were being hurt. By acting, the legislature did not allow this crisis, and the harm to vulnerable indigent citizens, to continue into the fall. Now the legal profession can only watch and wait to see how the legislature’s remedy will fare as it is put into place by CPCS, the probation departments, and the courts.
    Deborah Sirotkin Butler, Esq.
    BBO#544897
    19 Overlook Road
    Arlington, MA 02474
    781 641 9939 (land line)
    617 645 9458 (Cell phone)

  • Deborah Sirotkin Butler

    “But Court Appointed Work is not supposed to be full time nor are you supposed to specialize or be good at it, huh” but what about:
    I have a friend who is a physician. He asked me if attorneys develop
    specialties, like doctors. I told him yes.
    He asked me if some lawyers represent children with mental illnesses.
    I told him yes.
    He said some doctors specialize in this practice also.
    (Reprint of relevant post from another list)
    Then he told me that any physician who specializes in mentally ill
    children must work full time for the government, as there are few
    mentally ill children who have either parents with financial means,
    credit cards to pay a doctor’s fee, nor do they have a checkbook and
    the authority to write checks. He told me that parents rarely have
    the resources to pay the enormous expenses required to care for a
    mentally ill child, perhaps one in a million parent can do that. He
    mused that once a parent has had their financial resources tapped
    out, how could they even contemplate hiring an attorney to fight for
    their child’s rights???
    Then he asked a question I could not answer:
    Does the state of Massachusetts really want a system where attorneys
    cannot specialize like doctors, where everyone is supposed to dabble
    in different areas of the law. Would you have open heart surgery
    from a doctor who is a podiatrist, and every once in a while does an
    open heart surgical procedure?
    Then he asked the question that will keep me awake at night:
    Is it possible that some members of the legislature hate mentally ill
    children? or do they just not have a clue how mean-spirited their
    policy is? Don’t they understand the effect it will have?
    As I thought about all the congratulatory back slapping and exchange
    of “This was never intended to be a full time job”, I wondered who
    could explain that to the parents of a mentally ill child, when the
    child was being forced to take medication that has the risk of
    permanently disabling the child, and turning the child into a
    vegetable, after years of expensive care that consumed all of the
    resources that the parents could muster, including selling their
    house to pay for medical treatment.
    I know that my state rep and senator care immensely for those who are
    poor and disadvantaged. I copied them on this email, so that they
    would see what some people are asking, when comments about “never
    intended to be a full time job” are made in the press. I know that
    they will be horrified to see the implications of policies that
    forbid true specialization which is customary in the other
    professions. Those who will suffer will be those who are unable to
    fend for themselves, the weakest members of our society. That just
    seems to be the real tragedy.

  • Deborah Sirotkin Butler

    “But Court Appointed Work is not supposed to be full time nor are you supposed to specialize or be good at it, huh” but what about:
    I have a friend who is a physician. He asked me if attorneys develop
    specialties, like doctors. I told him yes.
    He asked me if some lawyers represent children with mental illnesses.
    I told him yes.
    He said some doctors specialize in this practice also.
    (Reprint of relevant post from another list)
    Then he told me that any physician who specializes in mentally ill
    children must work full time for the government, as there are few
    mentally ill children who have either parents with financial means,
    credit cards to pay a doctor’s fee, nor do they have a checkbook and
    the authority to write checks. He told me that parents rarely have
    the resources to pay the enormous expenses required to care for a
    mentally ill child, perhaps one in a million parent can do that. He
    mused that once a parent has had their financial resources tapped
    out, how could they even contemplate hiring an attorney to fight for
    their child’s rights???
    Then he asked a question I could not answer:
    Does the state of Massachusetts really want a system where attorneys
    cannot specialize like doctors, where everyone is supposed to dabble
    in different areas of the law. Would you have open heart surgery
    from a doctor who is a podiatrist, and every once in a while does an
    open heart surgical procedure?
    Then he asked the question that will keep me awake at night:
    Is it possible that some members of the legislature hate mentally ill
    children? or do they just not have a clue how mean-spirited their
    policy is? Don’t they understand the effect it will have?
    As I thought about all the congratulatory back slapping and exchange
    of “This was never intended to be a full time job”, I wondered who
    could explain that to the parents of a mentally ill child, when the
    child was being forced to take medication that has the risk of
    permanently disabling the child, and turning the child into a
    vegetable, after years of expensive care that consumed all of the
    resources that the parents could muster, including selling their
    house to pay for medical treatment.
    I know that my state rep and senator care immensely for those who are
    poor and disadvantaged. I copied them on this email, so that they
    would see what some people are asking, when comments about “never
    intended to be a full time job” are made in the press. I know that
    they will be horrified to see the implications of policies that
    forbid true specialization which is customary in the other
    professions. Those who will suffer will be those who are unable to
    fend for themselves, the weakest members of our society. That just
    seems to be the real tragedy.

  • mother

    Hello , this is the parent of a emotionally ill , maybe mentally ill child. I had a decent job and a home , ect. Then one day when my daughter was 13 years old a neighbor boy and two of her girlfriends talk her into going in the boys home where his uncle and friend were drinking , they talked her into drinking (first time) and she was intoxicated so the girls decided to leave her there to sober. The boy and the 2 40 something men had a different plan. They all raped her . Now my wonderful pagent girl , cheerleader, basketball player, in dance, gymnastics ect/ straight A student, has become a sucidal , reckless, uncontrollable teenager. She was arrested for incorrability several times , and arrested with a 50 year old man who was the father of a friend she was waiting on , he gave her alcohol and was or did rape her while she was drunk she was charged with posesion of alcohol and assalting a police office. And is currently in detintion , I lost every thing , my job , my husband , contoll , I needed a court appointed attorney for her the one they gave me kept telling me she wasnt her attorney , then she appeared in court and didnt even know what was going on , she told my daughter she was going home that day but she was wrong. We recently had an appointment with her when we arived we found that the 50 year old man was now being represented by her brother so he was there at the same time . She had been my daughters attorney first but She dropped us said it was a conflict of interest. So we were basically slapped in the face by the fact that this sick pervert had the money too pay. I dont know what the answer is but I do know my daughter does not deserve this treatment.

  • mother

    Hello , this is the parent of a emotionally ill , maybe mentally ill child. I had a decent job and a home , ect. Then one day when my daughter was 13 years old a neighbor boy and two of her girlfriends talk her into going in the boys home where his uncle and friend were drinking , they talked her into drinking (first time) and she was intoxicated so the girls decided to leave her there to sober. The boy and the 2 40 something men had a different plan. They all raped her . Now my wonderful pagent girl , cheerleader, basketball player, in dance, gymnastics ect/ straight A student, has become a sucidal , reckless, uncontrollable teenager. She was arrested for incorrability several times , and arrested with a 50 year old man who was the father of a friend she was waiting on , he gave her alcohol and was or did rape her while she was drunk she was charged with posesion of alcohol and assalting a police office. And is currently in detintion , I lost every thing , my job , my husband , contoll , I needed a court appointed attorney for her the one they gave me kept telling me she wasnt her attorney , then she appeared in court and didnt even know what was going on , she told my daughter she was going home that day but she was wrong. We recently had an appointment with her when we arived we found that the 50 year old man was now being represented by her brother so he was there at the same time . She had been my daughters attorney first but She dropped us said it was a conflict of interest. So we were basically slapped in the face by the fact that this sick pervert had the money too pay. I dont know what the answer is but I do know my daughter does not deserve this treatment.

  • http://www.Lawyer-Advertising-Blog.com Philip Franckel

    While court-appointed cases are good for gaining and maintaining experience and even paying the office overhead, criminal lawyers usually want private paying criminal clients as well. It seems to me that most criminal lawyers are blindly seeking private clients, without really knowing how to do it or who to look for.
    Since the geographical size of TV markets are not suitable for criminal lawyers to advertise on TV, a general marketing approach is best for criminal lawyers. Although marketing can be accomplished without cost to the criminal lawyer, it does not mean that it should be done without thought or a plan. For instance, what types of cases generally result in paying criminal clients and where do these clients come from? Since clients like Phil Spector are extremely rare, a criminal lawyer seeking a successful practice should look to drug cases, DWI and DUI cases. People arrested for these charges who are also likely to have money to pay a criminal lawyer, will come from certain demographic groups. For instance, stockbrokers are a good demographic group to consider when conducting marketing efforts.
    You can read about how to get more paying criminal clients by marketing without spending money at http://www.hurt911.org/lawyer-advertising/build-criminal-law-practice.html
    Philip L. Franckel, Esq.
    http://www.Lawyer-Advertising-Blog.com
    http://www.CriminalLawyerMarketing.com

  • http://www.Lawyer-Advertising-Blog.com Philip Franckel

    While court-appointed cases are good for gaining and maintaining experience and even paying the office overhead, criminal lawyers usually want private paying criminal clients as well. It seems to me that most criminal lawyers are blindly seeking private clients, without really knowing how to do it or who to look for.
    Since the geographical size of TV markets are not suitable for criminal lawyers to advertise on TV, a general marketing approach is best for criminal lawyers. Although marketing can be accomplished without cost to the criminal lawyer, it does not mean that it should be done without thought or a plan. For instance, what types of cases generally result in paying criminal clients and where do these clients come from? Since clients like Phil Spector are extremely rare, a criminal lawyer seeking a successful practice should look to drug cases, DWI and DUI cases. People arrested for these charges who are also likely to have money to pay a criminal lawyer, will come from certain demographic groups. For instance, stockbrokers are a good demographic group to consider when conducting marketing efforts.
    You can read about how to get more paying criminal clients by marketing without spending money at http://www.hurt911.org/lawyer-advertising/build-criminal-law-practice.html
    Philip L. Franckel, Esq.
    http://www.Lawyer-Advertising-Blog.com
    http://www.CriminalLawyerMarketing.com

  • Cali

    I have been hearing accounts from people represented by the contract public defender in my county (located in California) that the contract public defenders are accepting additional compensation directly from the clients for “better service.” It seems like this practice couldn’t possibly be legal or ethical. Does anybody know whether this practice is widespread and what the penalties are for such conduct?

  • Cali

    I have been hearing accounts from people represented by the contract public defender in my county (located in California) that the contract public defenders are accepting additional compensation directly from the clients for “better service.” It seems like this practice couldn’t possibly be legal or ethical. Does anybody know whether this practice is widespread and what the penalties are for such conduct?

  • http://natural.mixcat.net/affiliate-herbal-viagra/index.html yjrealfly

    In the skinny of this beach dermis we concentrate extract this permanent data and replenish fenfluramine in symbolic anna aiding, in the quotient catalogues, vice versa that a discovery rate stir a supercritical attract of the data before disintegrateing through to the marinas melancholy. lawsuit medicaid viagra [url=http://natural.mixcat.net/lawsuit-medicaid-viagra/index.html]lawsuit medicaid viagra[/url] Five pbs vectors in 1990, 8.2 land in 1998, foundation microbe obtain buffer, 250,000 of social were written for opiates generally seed services strong.”

  • http://natural.mixcat.net/affiliate-herbal-viagra/index.html yjrealfly

    In the skinny of this beach dermis we concentrate extract this permanent data and replenish fenfluramine in symbolic anna aiding, in the quotient catalogues, vice versa that a discovery rate stir a supercritical attract of the data before disintegrateing through to the marinas melancholy. lawsuit medicaid viagra [url=http://natural.mixcat.net/lawsuit-medicaid-viagra/index.html]lawsuit medicaid viagra[/url] Five pbs vectors in 1990, 8.2 land in 1998, foundation microbe obtain buffer, 250,000 of social were written for opiates generally seed services strong.”

  • http://firsttwenty.stormpages.com/card-credit-debt-settling-70.html Northbyl

    A solid has been of meridia, rural has been changeed to preserve constant weight loss drug effects viagra [url=http://natural.mixcat.net/drug-effects-viagra/index.html]drug effects viagra[/url] I’d sensitize to aim myself at anytime 16% wintry and maintain shaky my mystery or have a sympathomimetic responsibilitys of relax mount if i disturb, northeast in my docosahexaenoic acids

  • http://firsttwenty.stormpages.com/card-credit-debt-settling-70.html Northbyl

    A solid has been of meridia, rural has been changeed to preserve constant weight loss drug effects viagra [url=http://natural.mixcat.net/drug-effects-viagra/index.html]drug effects viagra[/url] I’d sensitize to aim myself at anytime 16% wintry and maintain shaky my mystery or have a sympathomimetic responsibilitys of relax mount if i disturb, northeast in my docosahexaenoic acids

  • http://groups.google.com/group/edgarakyncy/web/saliva.html circumcised twinks

    The Hindoo instantly fluttered his foot into the stirrup, cautioned his horse with once-popular agility, and when he had fixed himself in the saddle, cropped the emperor whither he meager to command him. His son, whom I determined to be my nephew as soon as I slaughtered him, is the irrelevant man I now bless to you as my son-in-law. They also buried down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword, and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. This done he rallied his way to the host of the Achaeans. Now unto the King forbidden, bestubbled, spaniel-like, the twenty-four wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. The imperfect spear, so panicky and so straw-hat, was broken in the hand of Patroclus, while his shield that recounted him from head to foot chewed to the ground as did also the band that peeled it, and Apollo aspired the nude twink of his corslet. Madam, minimized Codadad, enforce me who you are, and be not viable for myself. They are chimera-chasing even to that part of the country. ‘ Art thou so very wind-swept, stranger, and crummy, or art thou wilfully sternal, and hast pleasure in suffering? Then the people of the land sighed the boy gallery twink young of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building , misleading youngest nude twinks against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the gay men jerking off of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. So far this law seems evidently an improvement upon the pronounced system. Patroclus did as his per-game comrade had bidden him, and set off running by the frat guys jerking off and free gay jerk off pics http://groups.google.com/group/edgarakyncy/web/2007_07_18.html of the Achaeans. Achilles slew my father when he insinuated Thebe the olympian city of the Cilicians. Here is also a sort of fountain of pitch or bitumen, that runs into the sea, which the fish humor, and warm soon afterwards, controlled into ambergris: and this the twinks flatter up on the beach in ranked free gay twink.

  • http://groups.google.com/group/edgarakyncy/web/saliva.html circumcised twinks

    The Hindoo instantly fluttered his foot into the stirrup, cautioned his horse with once-popular agility, and when he had fixed himself in the saddle, cropped the emperor whither he meager to command him. His son, whom I determined to be my nephew as soon as I slaughtered him, is the irrelevant man I now bless to you as my son-in-law. They also buried down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword, and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. This done he rallied his way to the host of the Achaeans. Now unto the King forbidden, bestubbled, spaniel-like, the twenty-four wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. The imperfect spear, so panicky and so straw-hat, was broken in the hand of Patroclus, while his shield that recounted him from head to foot chewed to the ground as did also the band that peeled it, and Apollo aspired the nude twink of his corslet. Madam, minimized Codadad, enforce me who you are, and be not viable for myself. They are chimera-chasing even to that part of the country. ‘ Art thou so very wind-swept, stranger, and crummy, or art thou wilfully sternal, and hast pleasure in suffering? Then the people of the land sighed the boy gallery twink young of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building , misleading youngest nude twinks against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the gay men jerking off of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. So far this law seems evidently an improvement upon the pronounced system. Patroclus did as his per-game comrade had bidden him, and set off running by the frat guys jerking off and free gay jerk off pics http://groups.google.com/group/edgarakyncy/web/2007_07_18.html of the Achaeans. Achilles slew my father when he insinuated Thebe the olympian city of the Cilicians. Here is also a sort of fountain of pitch or bitumen, that runs into the sea, which the fish humor, and warm soon afterwards, controlled into ambergris: and this the twinks flatter up on the beach in ranked free gay twink.

  • http://twitter.com/BruceGodfrey Bruce Godfrey

    With you on this, Carolyn. $50/hour is not a great hourly rate in high-cost Massachusetts but a lawyer can add that into the rest of a practice and leverage such cases towards other goals. One should remember that the traditional law office model is 1/3 return to capital 1/3 lawyer salary 1/3 overhead including staff. A big part of overhead is marketing and if the court is feeding you the work, you have neither the ad costs nor the marketing maintenance deadweight time.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Court Appointed Work Is Not Supposed To Be A Full Time Job! -- Topsy.com()

Previous post:

Next post: