"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Shocking News-- Lawyers Making Big Bucks!

It does not surprise me to learn that court-appointed criminal defense attorneys are racking up huge salaries. I know in my jurisdiction, where we do not have a public defender's office, there are attorneys who do nothing but court appointed criminal work, and none of them are suffering in terms of lifestyle. In fact, more than one earn six figures.

So please, enough of the hand-wringing about indigent defense being underfunded. PD lawyers don't make alot, but then, neither do prosecutors. But I suspect in most cases neither group are in the business solely to make a ton of money. Those who want to make the big bucks go out and do court-appointed work or (ugh) go over to the dark side of civil law.

HT: Arbitrary and Capricious


Anonymous said...

None of these lawyers are in Virginia. Moreover, you don’t even seem to understand the argument made by proponents of higher fees: that the fees associated with individual criminal defendants are so low, that in order to make an acceptable salary (that is, $150,000 or so) a given lawyer must divide his time between too many cases.

As a lawyer it is very important to understand arguments, even those you disagree with. This was a fairly simple argument, and you seem to have missed it. In an era of global terrorism, Americans cannot afford such intellectual lapses.

Ken Lammers said...

$150,000? The only way you'd net that kind of money around in Virginia (after bills et al.) would be to refuse to do any work in Circuit Court and handle five or more misdemeanor or JDR charges per day.

Ken Lammers said...

Actually, I take it back. Those numbers work if you are trying to gross 150,000. To net that much you'd have to do uncapped GAL work.

Anonymous said...

Also, even if a lawyer gets $200,000 in fees, he still need to provide for overhead. (I don’t know if he can get expenses such as for WL in VA.) I don’t think that Tom took this into account in his political points.

Anonymous said...

Since Mr. Mckenna is proud to work in a county without a PD office, most of the costs of defending the cases come out of the funds provided to the court-appointed attorneys to represent indigent defendants. This provides an incentive to the less ethical or scrupulous among court-appointed lawyers to cut corners in order to take more of that money home. Mr. McKenna gets the police to investigate the facts of the case. He gets state-funded labs and experts. He gets a state-funded office with the rent paid, office equipment maintained, and secretarial services. If he uses experts, police resources or the copy machine, he still goes home with the same salary. I'm starting to think that Tom is actually David Feige in disguise, setting up a straw man that is oh-so-easy to knock down.

Anonymous said...

Please consider the cost of operating an office. The defense attorney has to purchase everything from ink to insurance. Running from jail to jail and court to court is getting rather costly as well.

Our hourly rate is meaningless whe the fee caps are so low. The only way to earn enough to make it worth working at all is to handle a high volume. We have to enjoy this job, cause I know I'd save money staying home or walking dogs.

Anonymous said...

"cause I know I'd save money staying home or walking dogs"

We are begging you--please take one of these options. How bad does a lawyer have to suck when dog walking would be more profitable?