February Message from The President
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPERLY FUNDING THE ASSIGNED COUNSEL/ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILD PROGRAMS
The Court System has been suffering from a shortage of attorneys who are willing to participate in the Assigned Counsel/Attorney for the Child programs. Unfortunately, hourly rates for such programs have remained stagnate over the last 10 years. The rates have made it almost impossible to attract attorneys willing to basically lose money by devoting their time to representing children and indigents. Proper funding and raising the hourly rates are essential to protecting the rights of individuals as they navigate through the court system.
The same issue has arisen with respect to government agencies attempting to fill vacancies. Oneida County and Herkimer County have numerous openings for attorneys in both the civil and criminal fields. Salaries have failed to keep up with inflation, making it difficult, if not impossible, for attorneys graduating from law school, with significant student loans, to be able to afford to work at pay scales offered by municipalities.
I feel that it is very important for state and local governments to become more competitive in attracting young legal talent to help insure the proper administration of justice in both the civil and criminal fields.
Until next month.
Very truly yours,
Keith A. Eisenhut, Esq., President, Oneida County Bar Association