"Groups of lawyers and advocates have filed lawsuits in states from New York to Florida to Arizona charging that low-income people can't get a fair trial. Public defenders in Kansas and Minnesota are refusing cases outright.
In Michigan, the system has been broken for decades. Detroit public defenders face abysmal pay, unmanageable caseloads and flimsy oversight."
Listen to this story from All Things Considered on National Public Radio. It really illustrates how high caseloads affect lawyers who have good hearts, but no time or resources to do the job. The lawyer featured in the story doesn't get paid for telephone calls or letters to his clients and is only paid for one jail visit. So he has practically no communication with his in-custody clients. To see how this guy deals with and talks about his clients is shocking but then you wonder how anyone can keep their humanity in that system.
It was a good reminder to me that I work for my clients, not a system, and I owe my clients time and respect and sincere concern.