It’s the second time Broward Democrat James Waldman has filed a bill allowing the state to pay for its public defenders and state attorney’s student loan debt. If the measure becomes law, any public defender or state attorney that works for Florida for three to six years would have their loans paid off directly. Waldman said because most lawyers incur massive debt after law school, many don’t have a choice but to flee to the private sector.
“Those departments are losing really qualified people because after you’ve put in a year, or two, or three years into a job and you’ve learned – maybe four or five years – you’ve learned the job very well, you’ve gotten a lot of experience, the private sector pulls you away because you’ve graduated from law school with maybe a 100-thousand, maybe over 100-thousand dollars in debt,” Waldman explained.
Waldman’s bill stipulates that any public defender or state attorney must work at least three years in the public sector to be eligible. The Legislature would still have to appropriate money for the program every year.