Below is a summary of the article:
The City of Philadelphia wants to overhaul how it provides legal counsel to poor defendants and criminals by asking law firms to bid for work now handled individually by hundreds of private lawyers. Currently, when a conflict prevents the Defender Association of Philadelphia from representing someone, the courts assign the client a private lawyer. Such conflicts arise when clients’ legal interests diverge and the association cannot represent all the parties.
Officials say a new system could improve the defense that poor people get. But the lawyers who now do the work predict it will lead to worse outcomes in court.
The city spends $8 million to $10 million yearly on so-called conflict counsel, who work in family and criminal courts. From July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011, there were 22,441 conflict appointments in Philadelphia’s Family, Criminal, Municipal, Orphans, and Traffic Courts, according to the city’s proposal.
For full article see Philly wants to overhaul defense system for poor people by Miriam Hill, tel: 215-854-5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @miriamhill.