New attorney group aims to lessen Missouri public defender caseloads

The state’s public defender system will get some help from a new non-profit organization that wants to ease the agency’s caseload size.

Richard Scherrer with the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel says more than 20 Missouri law firms, primarily from St. Louis, will help represent those who can’t afford an attorney. The initiative will also provide court room experience to early-career private practice lawyers.

The organization, which hopes to go statewide, is perhaps the first of its kind in the U.S. Scherrer says it is designed to last for two years, with the volunteer lawyers ideally handling one to three cases consecutively over that time period.

Currently, the state’s 370 public defenders are handling more than 80,000 cases per year.

Read more: Missourinet, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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