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Ona. state rep. Doyle skeptical of student loan forgiveness plans to add rural attorneys



The best solution for a shortage of attorneys in rural Wisconsin might just be more money.

Onalaska state rep. Steve Doyle, also an attorney, is skeptical of a new proposal from some state lawmakers to forgive student loan debt for new attorneys in order to get more legal minds out in the sticks.

“I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem,” Doyle said Monday morning on WIZM. “The bigger problem is the amount of money you get paid if you do public defender work, and that’d $40 an hour. That hasn’t changed in decades.”

For Doyle, that $40 an hour isn’t paying for much.

“If you look at, in La Crosse right now, the average attorney probably bills somewhere between $150-250 an hour,” Doyle said. “That $40 an hour, unless you’re living in your parent’s basement and your mother’s your secretary, you can’t even run an office, pay your secretary, pay your light bill, or your phone bill.”

Doyle says Wisconsin public defense work pays less than any other state in the nation.

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