The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Today San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi publicly discussed his budget battles with the City and his denied request to add two paralegals to his staff, describing the current situation in the Public Defender’s office as “extremely challenging”.
Mr. Adachi says his office is clearly short-staffed, and that he will be forced to decline cases, if no assistance is provided to manage the growing caseload. He maintains that the two additional paralegal positions are essential:
Without sufficient support to help the attorneys do their jobs, we can’t handle all the cases that we have now. We have always worked hard, but we’re at a breaking point. Paralegals do the work that attorneys would otherwise have to do, but do it as a cheaper rate. When you have a case that has 10,000 documents that need to be reviewed and organized for trial, it’s cheaper to have a paralegal do it rather than a lawyer.
Because we have too many cases right now, we cannot function at this level without sufficient support for the attorneys. We now have one paralegal for every seven lawyers, and fourteen lawyers are without paralegal support because of the vacancies. We don’t have secretaries or assistants, so there is no one else to do the work.
See the full interview at BeyondChron.