For NYC Defenders, Pay Promise Is Vague But Encouraging (NY)

For NYC Defenders, Pay Promise Is Vague But Encouraging

"New York City public defenders don’t get paid as much as their counterparts in the city’s Law Department, a disparity that leads them more likely to leave public service or have to moonlight as Uber drivers to make ends meet.

But after a monthslong campaign for pay parity from The Legal Aid Society and other defender groups that contract with the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this month that public defenders will have their pay raised to match the salaries of attorneys on the city payroll within the next four years.

“There are real retention issues and recruitment issues that we care about a lot for those folks,” the mayor and presidential candidate said in a June 14 press conference. “That piece is going to get immediate attention. And then we’re going to keep working throughout the coming months till we get it done.”

The announcement drew praise from The Legal Aid Society’s CEO Janet Sabel, who noted that the city’s $92.8 billion budget agreement is ultimately “a reflection of values.” The fact that it includes a promise to establish pay parity signals a political shift..."

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  • Pro Bono/Legal Services