So, if people aren't looking information on life in Alaska or the Public Defender Agency, they want to know what the salary is for a Public Defender in Alaska. To be honest I'm not really sure. I think most people start somewhere above $50,000. If you are in the Bush it would be more. But the cost of living is a lot more there too. Salaries here are fairly good, as I hear stories of Public Defenders in other states starting at $32,000 or something absurd. When I started in Mendocino County, it was at $38,000. That was just dumb. I think most people in my office are making something in the range of $70,000 to $90,000 a year. People who work for the State in Alaska do not contribute to social security and it takes 5 years to fully vest in the retirement plan. Anyone who starts these days would be in Tier 4. The running joke among those of us in this tier, is that it is called "Tier Fucked". If I stay with the Agency I have to hope and pray that the market doesn't tank anytime from about 30 years to now until I die. Yay! And don't get me started on the medical plan. My blood pressure will rise and I will need to see a doctor I can't afford. At least I have health insurance. I just can't believe how expensive it is. Does everyone with a totally healthy family have a stack of medical bills? Have to sell vacation to pay said bills? I can't believe that the United States is this backwards when it comes to medical care. I can't believe how many people are opposed to fixing it. But we are paid more than many public defenders. Alaska is still a great place to practice law for many reasons. And obviously, despite my concerns over Tier 4 (which covers everyone who works for the State), I think the Agency is a great place to work. Again, those with specific questions should contact me privately or get a hold of those in charge in Anchorage. back to covering life in Alaska.


Ben, how about the health insurance only covering up to $800 on hearing aids and related doctor/audiologist visits? When the hearing aids themselves are between $4,200 and $7,000 and the doctor/audiologist bills are more than $500? Good thing we don't need to hear what people say for our jobs. Wait a minute...yes we do.
Another PD said…
Former north country (well north in the lower 48) PD here. My hearing aids were $7,000.00. Cash. And almost useless. Almost. But I've managed to avoid the $40.00 per hour (or less, once the judge gets through with it) court appointed murder cases. 6th Amendment issue.
Another PD said…
Oh, and starting pay in NH when I started in the nineties was around $30,000 a year. I'm sure it hasn't gone up much in the State where the license plates read "LIVE FREEZE OR DIE." I mean FREE.

I was offered the job as bail bitch in Anchorage my last semester of law school. Also offered a PD position in Ketchikan when I graduated - probably had a choice. Two kids at home, older than yours. Fed alternative was offered in the Virgin Islands. I'd already bought boots, a Mossberg stainless, a .41 Redhawk. I was a hunting/fishing/whitewater guide in Maine growing up. Wifie says go south, young man. It hasn't been bad. Matter of fact the Caribbean probably deserves its own blog. You have NO idea what a bad cop really is. God, this jurisdiction deserves its own book.

And we vacation in Humboldt. Have a salmon/crab boat (sport) in Eureka, and know Mendo and the Trinity alps very well.

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