By David Riley | Daily News Correspondent | August 28, 2011
Leaders of the state’s public defender system will soon detail a plan to hire more staff attorneys to represent the poor and contract less of that work to about 3,000 private lawyers across Massachusetts.
The cost of defending low-income people came under the spotlight on Beacon Hill this year when Gov. Deval Patrick proposed hiring about 1,000 new state attorneys and ending the use of private attorneys altogether.
While the administration said the initial plan would save more than $45 million, MetroWest and Milford-based private attorneys argued benefit, pension and overhead costs for an expanded state staff could prove more expensive. They also said the changes could jeopardize the quality of legal counsel for the poor.