State and local district attorneys around the U.S. say they are having trouble recruiting and retaining young lawyers because they simply can’t pay enough, reports the Miami Herald. Public defenders are having the same problem as the rising cost of a law school education and the cost of living has far outpaced salaries for government criminal lawyers. Recruiters on both sides of the courtroom must compete with private firms that pay double and triple what they can offer, and even with other government agencies that pay far more.
The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office starts lawyers at just under $40,000. The local public defender’s office pays new attorneys $42,000. The top private firms have starting salaries of $130,000 or more in Miami. Said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle: ”You have to at least make it so that they can pay their bills. None of these new lawyers believe that they’re going to get rich. And frankly we’re not talking about necessarily even competing with the private law firms. We’re talking about competing with other public sector jobs.’