To quote the secretary of the Essex County Bar Assn.:
Members of the Essex County Bar Association Advocates in Salem remain similarly perplexed.
?Our members have a contract with the state, which insures them at all times, and states they must be in court on a certain date for a certain proceeding such as an arraignment. For that, they can bill for their hours,? said Kelly Quinn, secretary to the Salem-based Essex County lawyers? group.
How would you like to go unpaid, while working full time, for three months?
Chris Burke says it all:
Chris Burke, a private-practice attorney who also does bar advocacy work, is among those lawyers who remain uncompensated for cases completed in fiscal 2007. He primarily is assigned cases in Lynn District Court and Salem Superior Court.
?The state is paying us for current work, bills submitted since July 1, but the other amounts that were billed before the end of fiscal 2007 and should have been paid already are being delayed,? said Burke, a Salem resident with law offices on Franklin Street in Lynn. ?If you had a case and just finished it, you would get paid. But if you had a case back in June, you haven?t got your money. It presents a hardship.?
According to Burke, the bar advocates are professional and despite the lack of payment continue to represent clients as court-appointed lawyers. ?It?s a chronic problem with the Legislature, although Rep. Steve Walsh and Sen. Tom McGee have been very helpful,? he said. ?I don?t think other state vendors are treated similarly to us.?