Low-Paid PDs and Prosecutors Try Moonlighting
Public defenders and prosecutors struggling to pay off high student debt are increasingly turning to side jobs to make ends meet.
The National Law Journal reports on the trend, finding that lawyers are not sticking only with traditional moonlighting jobs such as doing wills on the side or teaching law courses.
“I have lawyers delivering pizzas, I have another lawyer umpiring and another bartending,” said Frank de la Torre, chief assistant at the Broward County Public Defender’s Office in South Florida. The starting salary there is $39,000 a year, about $8,000 less than the median starting pay for public defenders. Median starting pay for prosecutors is a little higher at $50,000, according to a survey released this week.
The National Law Journal story highlighted the plight of Dan Griffin, who has a student loan of $70,000. On weekdays, the 27-year-old Chicago prosecutor works all day, then does construction work until about 1:30 a.m. On weekends he works as a bartender and referees children’s basketball games.
President Bush signed a law this month that rebates law-school loan payments for prosecutors and public defenders who stay in their jobs for at least three years. The bill pays rebates of up to $10,000 a year up to a total of $60,000. But the law has not been funded yet.