The way that Washington, D.C., funds its legal system is paying off bigly for the city’s most prominent street criminals, who are mostly people of color. The District has one of the highest per capita incarceration rates in the developed world (more than 860 prisoners per 100,000 residents), and many of those convicts are serving long sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. But these inmates don’t stay locked up forever; they often come out with a fresh start to finish their prison time outside of jail or prison walls—but only if they have good lawyers on retainer. That means only a handful of law firms can afford to do business with them after release from jail or prison: Those attorneys need to be among the best in a tough field dominated by white-shoe firms that partner with government agencies and corporations more often than private citizens facing justice. A new study by researchers at American University shows just how lucrative this arrangement can be for some convicted felons seeking lawyers post-incarceration: In 2014 alone, D.C.-based public defenders were paid over $1 million while representing clients before judges and juries on felony charges—a sum greater than what was earned by all but five prosecutors in America’s capital city combined during that same year!
$1 Million 2015 Salary Expense Report Lawyers Incumbent Attorney Fees Position Name 500 Law Firms Dollar Expenses Total Annual Compensation 1 Wylie & Walsh DC Bureau Chief Carey