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New York State sued for a pay raise for attorneys

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  • Staff Report 

New York State is being sued over attorneys that work as court-appointed lawyers.

It is believed that low income families forced to go through the family court system aren’t getting adequate representation due to the low pay attorneys who represent them receive.

This led attorneys for the state to file a lawsuit this week. Attorneys for the New York State Bar Association have asked New York to reevaluate pay rates for attorney assigned as court appointed counsel according to The Times Union. Often this means attorneys are assigned to people who cannot afford to pay for their own representation. Hourly pay rates set by the state Legislature have not been changed since 2004.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Hourly rates are currently at or below $75 per hour for attorneys who are court appointed. Those working in federal court proceedings are making as much as $158 per hours. They’ve had 14 increases in pay since the year 2004.

In addition to being underpaid, the workforce for court appointed lawyers in family court has shrunk by 30%. This increases the risk that children and adults that cannot afford representation will receive inadequate services in court, a violation of their constitutional right.

A similar lawsuit against the City of New York resulted in attorneys being paid $158 per hour, but those in counties outside the city are still making 2004 wages.

Categories: New York StateNews