Alabama Lawyers for the Indigent

Dennis Sherer had a good article on Tuesday in the Times Daily about Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb concern that the lawyers representing the poor in Alabama provide quality legal representation. Justice Cobb would like the state of Alabama to fund an oversight committee to ensure the legal interests of poor defendants and state taxpayers.

Tennessee does what is clearly a dumb thing: lawyers receive $40 per hour for work on indigent cases outside of court and $60 for work inside the court. (This is mostly in criminal cases. The paradigm of accident and malpractice cases does not require clients to pay fees before a recovery.) Lawyers obviously cannot run a law practice on this, so the lawyers are allowed to bill the state for their overhead. Not a bad idea in a utopian world, but an awful idea in the real world. Justice Cobb wants to change this system. I hope she can.

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