Public Defenders Out Earn Prosecutors

As reported by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin on August 17, 2006, the median public defender makes about $13,000 more than the median prosecutor. As this article reported, almost two thirds of our Office now earn over $70,000, while only about a third of prosecutors earn over $70,000.

There are likely several reasons for this apparent difference in pay. One likely explanation is the longevity of assistant public defenders, and the relative lack of attorney attrition. When assistant public defenders stay on the job longer, they naturally attain higher salaries.

Another explanation is undoubtedly the salary gains attained for our members through collective bargaining. The Locals under AFSCME Council 31 fought long and hard for our most recent contract, which secured modest wage increases and reasonable restructuring of health care. In the past, we have been willing to risk wage losses and engage in picketing in an attempt to secure modest raises.

The Union is proud to have played a part in both fighting for a work environment where longevity is possible, and securing meaningful compensation for attorneys engaged in our important work.

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