A courtroom crisis was averted just before midnight on Friday that helped keep hundreds of public defenders from striking in Minnesota.
According to reports, negotiators for unionized attorneys and the Minnesota Board of Public Defense met with a state mediator on Friday, and the two sides reached an agreement shortly before Saturday morning. The new tentative contract agreement ensured more than 460 public defenders and 200 support staff members would continue to act as public defense assets for individuals charged with a crime in Minnesota.
Why Were They Threatening To Strike?
Public defenders across Minnesota were considering striking until they saw some necessary changes in their new contract. Many public defenses say they have been handling extremely high caseloads that have become even more unmanageable during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unsure if the new contract does anything to help unburden these attorneys, but at least they’ll be paid better for their efforts. The deal includes:
- 3.5% retroactive pay increase from July 1, 2021
- An additional 3% increase in pay after July 1 of this year
- Cost of living adjustments through 2023
“After over nine months of hard bargaining for fair working conditions and better pay, both of which are essential to retaining good quality attorneys and support staff, we are excited to have reached a deal with the Board that will help us more justly represent Minnesota’s indigent defendants,” public defender Ginny Barron said in a statement.
The attorneys will officially vote on the new contract within two weeks.
So while the pay is a little better, it’s still clear that public defenders are handling very extensive workloads, and that can stretch them too thin and lead to burnout. Your public defender may be juggling numerous other cases, which can take time away from your defense or have the lawyer pushing an unfavorable deal just to get you off his caseload. Don’t get us wrong, public defenders are an integral part of the court system and they work tirelessly for their clients, but clearly that effort was catching up to them if they were considering striking for better work conditions or higher pay.
This is just one of the reasons why you should strongly consider hiring a private law firm like Appelman Law Firm if you ever run into some serious trouble with the law. Private firms can be more selective in who they choose to represent, so not only can they ensure they have extensive experience with your specific type of criminal charge, but they can also turn away clients so that they don’t take on too large a caseload, assuring your case gets the individual attention it needs.
So if you find yourself in legal trouble in Minnesota, turn to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm for assistance. You’ll be our top priority, and you’ll never feel like we don’t have enough time for you. To learn more about why we’re the best fit, set up a free case evaluation with our team by calling (952) 224-2277.