The State Bar of Wisconsin and the state public defender’s office are demanding a $30 an hour increase in the pay for attorneys who volunteer to defend indigents.
Public defender Nick Chiarkis says the current $40 an hour rate doesn’t cover the overhead at even a small law firm. He claims the constitutional mandate to provide equal justice under the law isn’t being fulfilled.
The average rate for a private attorney in Wisconsin is $150 an hour.
Critics say increasing the attorneys’ pay shouldn’t be a priority during a recession.