The state is allocating $250 million for the Office of Indigent Services. The purpose is to provide better representation for those going through the court system. “This is an amazing opportunity for students or recent grads,” said University of Buffalo School of Law Vice Dean for Career Services, Lisa Patterson.
The funding increase means counties will be hiring additional public defenders.
U.B. law student, Breanna Reilly is intrigued because she’s considering becoming a public defender after college. “Just because they can't afford it, doesn't mean they shouldn't be given the rights that we're all given.”
The funding breakdown per county is still unknown. But, Patterson said it will be a significant boost in Erie County. “All public defenders across the state are stretched pretty thin. In Erie County, this initiative will double the number of public defenders in Erie County alone.”
Patterson said the interest among students is there. The problem for years has been a lack of funding. “Many students would love to be public defenders and there hasn't been the funding to hire that many public defenders all at once in history,” said Patterson.
Public defenders from across the state will be at U.B. for the career fair next week.