Lawyer Pay

IL Prosecutors + Low Pay = 'Brain Drain'

Although it hasn’t yet caused a rush to the courthouse door, state prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois, due to a budgeting quirk, earn less than public defenders. On average, they have been making $63,000 annually to prosecute alleged criminals, compared to $73,000 for those who defend alleged criminals.

And that is causing a “brain drain” that is expected to become worse as time goes on, even though the annual pay gap has been narrowed to $5,000 or so, reports the Chicago Tribune in an opinion article today.

“The balance in the criminal justice system is vital,” says Cook County State’s Atty. Richard Devine. “When you tilt it and higher pay goes for defense than for prosecution, then we’ve got problems. We’re seeing an accelerated rate of resignations; it isn’t dramatic yet, but I anticipate that we’ll see a brain drain.”

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