Bill Would Give Prosecutors, Public Defenders Help With Student Loans






State Sen. Jeremy Ring is throwing a life preserver to young prosecutors and public defenders buried in law school debt.

Ring, Parkland-D, filed a bill  (SB 150) which would offer thousands of dollars a year to help prosecutors and public defenders pay off student loans, according to the News Service of Florida.

Lawmakers have long heard complaints from courthouses across that state that the relatively low pay of prosecutors and public defenders make it hard to hire attorneys, who are facing big law school loans.  The low salary also leads many prosecutors and public defenders to leave their jobs and go into the private sector just as they are gaining experience.

Ring’s would help assistant state attorneys, assistant public defenders, assistant attorneys general and assistant statewide prosecutors make their loan payments.

Prosecutors or public defenders who have had their jobs three to six years would get $3,000-a-year. The amount climbs to $5,000 for attorneys who have served six to 12 years.

The program, of course, would need to be funded in each annual state budget. The loan payments would be prorated if not enough money was set aside to pay the maximum amounts.

Ring was elected to a two-year term as chair of the Broward Legislative Delegation earlier this month.



11 Responses to “Bill Would Give Prosecutors, Public Defenders Help With Student Loans”

  1. Sam The Sham says:

    Yes, let’s throw money at the problem. That will make it better.

    What about all the other college graduates? Don’t they get any love?

    Instead of perpetuating an incredibly overpriced college education system, why not find better and more efficient ways? Rick Scott has some good ideas on reducing costs.

  2. Sam Fields says:

    I can’t wait to read about Republicans objecting to this bill on the grounds that it discriminates against rich people who paid cash or bought a Pre-paid plan.


    Sam, the pre-paid plan is for undergraduates. Much of the debt students incur is for law school.

  3. Susan Goldstein says:

    Sorry Senator, but this one set me off. Don’t we have enough welfare in this country? Now attorneys want public assistance for working in public service while earning practical knowledge and experience? If they don’t want to ‘serve the public’, they have the choice to go into private practice. How about helping those who really need it, like the mentally ill that are thrown in jail for simply existing in a world without treatment and protection. These are the people they are prosecuting and defending. If the state provided them some treatment they would not end up in court. That should lighten the caseloads.

    Lets allocate our limited resources to those who can’t help themselves, or speak for themselves like the 20,000 people with disabilities on the waiting list for 8 years, or the medically fragile who need ongoing medical treatment to survive. Government was created to protect those that can’t protect themselves like our ailing seniors, injured veterans and people with down syndrome, autism, and the intellectually challenged. Not to provide subsidies to the privileged, able bodied college graduates who have the luxury to choose their jobs and that have other options and opportunities available to them. I would not be opposed to offering them scholarship assistance, as we have done for so many others, but it should be understood beforehand that it comes with a requirement they work for a specified time in these positions after they graduate. But certainly not to pay off their existing loans. And what about those who already paid their loans off? In effect it would be a pay cut for them. And after their loans are paid off how will you keep them there? You will end up with the same problem you started with. There must be another way to create incentive based on tenure to retain them longer. And don’t we have an abundance of lawyers in Florida? Sorry, not with you on this one Senator. But thanks for your consistent and unrelenting advocacy otherwise.


    Ms. Goldstein is a former state representative from Weston.

  4. Richard J Kaplan says:

    That would be a help, but law school is around $100,000 plus I understand today. $9000 for six years of work won’t cut it.

    So to really make a dent, they should get more like $10,000/year starting in year two ($5,000 as a signing bonus when hired if they stay a year). That would really attract the numbers they need and get a higher quality graduate as well.

    Better yet, give them a pay raise.

  5. John Henry says:

    Maybe these “aspiring young lawyers” should research today’s average salaries and compare it to the cost of law school & student loans before making the commitment on becoming a lawyer.

    Why should our tax dollars go to pay some clown’s large student loan tab?

  6. disgruntled says:

    let them form a union like the police have, better pay, overtime, double to triple the pension, etc. if I knew than what I know now the hell with college and direct to the department no student loans, they even pay for college.

  7. Proactive says:

    I would prefer to see a program like this created for teachers. If you put the resources into producing high equality teachers who are educating todays youth maybe less students will eventually need public defenders and prosecutors.

  8. Broward says:

    What about all the attorneys that do stay and paid their way through law school and have no loans. Don’t they get any love?

  9. First generation college graduate says:

    Why not legislation to limit interest rates that banks can charge for private student loan and help all the individuals rather than a select few? Make them have the same terms as federal student loans.

    I find it amusing that folks will finance a $60,000 car that will benefit them for ten years, but whine about paying back student loans for an education that will benefit them for life.

    No one says you have to finish college in four years. I worked full-time and went to night school for seven years to get a bachelor’s. I worked full-time and went to school on Saturdays for two years to get a master’s. I paid my own way through college; let the well-paid lawyers pay for their education themselves.

  10. Chris says:

    Frankly, you people don’t know what you are talking about. My wife went to law school to become a prosecutor, because she wanted to serve and give back. Over the past 4 years she has given her all to this job, by going into work at 7:30am and often times not leaving until after 9pm. Too tired to even eat dinner at night and falling asleep in work clothes. Then she has to work on Sundays just to catch up on old cases because her current caseload is around 250, and once a month on a rotating schedule she is on-call for crime scenes, which can happen at 4am in the morning when she spends hours on the phone with police officers. Then she is still expected to arrive to work at 7:30am the next morning after only a few hours of sleep. If you don’t put in 70 hours a week for $41k annually with no overtime, then you really don’t have a say. It’s not about choice, it’s about fairness. How is it fair that someone in Ocala makes the same thing she does in this state when they have a caseload of 30 to 40? Oh and the part about valuable experience you talk about is worthless. She has been applying to jobs for the past 4 months and has only been on 3 interviews, because most law offices want someone with civil litigation experience not criminal law. Not to mention, she still has to pay for parking at the courthouse, which is really ridiculous. And what other job you know of that makes you sign 3-year commitment contracts and only offers you a $2000 raise if you sign another 3-year contract. There is no merit or incentive to do a good job and no promotional opportunities. Honestly, it’s a terrible job, but when people are shortsighted it makes the work even more challenging. Do you put down the guy who collects your trash or the maid who cleans your room?
    These bright, intelligent people are doing really important work that is being devalued. When the fire department doesn’t show up to your burning house because you didn’t pay your fire fee are you going to think that’s sensible? How about when your 4 year son is molested by his soccer coach or you get followed back to your expense hotel where you are attacked and robbed or you are out for your nightly run and a drunk driver hits you and leaves you in the road to die, you are going to wish you had someone like my wife prosecuting those crimes. Unfortunately, my wife won’t be there because you were too cheap to pay her $210 a month student loan payment.



  11. The PSJD Blog » PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 5, 2014 says:

    […] November 28, 2014 – State Senator Jeremy Ring filed a bill  which would offer thousands of dollars a year to help prosecutors and public defenders pay off student loans.  Ring’s bill would help assistant state attorneys, assistant public defenders, assistant attorneys general and assistant statewide prosecutors make their loan payments. Prosecutors or public defenders who have had their jobs three to six years would get $3,000-a-year. The amount climbs to $5,000 for attorneys who have served six to 12 years.”  (Broward […]