April 20, 2023 New York, New York – The New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA) and several other bar associations, through their pro bono counsel, Michael Dell of Kramer Levin, have brought suit to increase the rate of compensation for assigned counsel serving the indigent, children and other vulnerable populations. Last year, Supreme Court Justice Lisa Headley issued a preliminary injunction requiring the State of New York and the City of New York to pay 18B assigned counsel for children and the indigent in criminal and family court cases in New York at the federal CJA rate of $158 per hour, retroactive to February 2, 2022. View the full report here.
The City has now appealed from the Order only to the extent it requires it to pay assigned counsel at the rate of $158 per hour during the period from February 2, 2022, when Respondents filed their request for an order that Appellants show cause why that rate should not be paid immediately, to July 25, 2022, when Supreme Court granted the requested preliminary injunctive relief. Notably, the State has not joined the appeal and has paid the $158 rate from February 2, 2022 onward. NYCLA has opposed the City’s appeal, stating that the Court’s ruling “was an abundantly sound exercise of the Court’s discretion to increase compensation from the date of the motion.” The Court’s ruling to require payment from February 2, 2022 onward “encourages assigned counsel to remain in the system, encourages others to provide the service, and discourages the State and the City from further recalcitrance.” Our brief demonstrated that “ a reversal of the challenged portion of the Order would create a perverse incentive for the State and Appellants to continue to delay and obstruct any lawsuit or motion to protect the constitutional right to counsel, and any parties more generally to oppose meritorious motions for injunctive relief and to drag out proceedings.”
About the New York County Lawyers Association
The New York County Lawyers Association (www.nycla.org) was founded in 1908 as one of the first major bar associations in the country that admitted members without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, or gender, and has a long history of supporting the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Since its inception, NYCLA has pioneered some of the most far-reaching and tangible reforms in American jurisprudence. For more information on NYCLA please visit nycla.org.