TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Christy Gibson on Dec 10, 2014

A recent TBA survey of private attorneys who handle court appointed work show they feel undervalued, overworked, and unfairly compensated. The rate these attorneys are paid has not changed since 1994. In the survey, half reported frequently hitting the fee cap on appointed cases and 77 percent reported not bothering to submit a fee claim for an appointed case. Survey responses indicated an overwhelming number of cases are not just adult criminal cases, but also dependency, neglect and abuse work, generally as guardian ad litem or parent's attorney. More than half of respondents left lengthy comments on their experience with court appointed work, with many reporting that they love doing the work but cannot continue doing so at the current compensation rates, likening the work to pro bono, and that reporting requirements frequently add stress to an already difficult-to-handle clientele. With a compensation rate that has not changed since 1994, Tennessee court appointed attorneys are among the lowest paid in the nation.