Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Challenging nature of PD work

I've been far too busy lawyering to post anything coherent, but I love using my own site to contain all the other sites I like to read, so I'll keep this up, even if I post rarely.

One thing to post: it is extremely expensive for our society to scrimp on providing effective counsel for poor people facing prison. Why? I save hundreds of thousands every month in unnecessary prison costs by saving clients, but when I fail it is often because I have far less time than I need to be as effective as I would like. But I can't spend that time.

Sure, if I did what I did in a private firms at market prices for my talents, I would make a cool quarter million a year, but money doesn't interest me beyond being comfortable, which I am, despite mucho loans that I hope to pay before I die (and suddenly my mortgage seems a worse deal than my law debt).

I see that people have to be more and more committed to turn down the draw of so much more money and so much more admiration for so much less work that it will get much harder to do my job for a long time before it gets better. Luckily, I am the type of person who the harder it gets, the more I relish it (up to my breaking point of course). After all, if it was as intellectually non-challenging to be a defense attorney as it was to be a prosecutor, I couldn't do it.

I'm not saying prosecutors don't have difficult decisions. Say when deciding when to exercise their discretion (or not being able to and dealing with that moral dilemma if they want to keep their jobs and must follow the party line). But if my job was like it is but involved proving the drug addict had cocaine that police found on them (which is as easy as many state cases), I would have left ages ago. So I'm hoping the work continues to be intellectually stimulating, but not continue to be so dramatically unfair I feel I've become part of an unfair system and make no difference and then move on.