Contract attorneys in western Montana seek pay increase

Several months after the state of Montana said it was spending $1.5 million in federal pandemic relief money to shore up the public defender’s office in the Billings area and offer higher pay to contract attorneys, a group of attorneys in western Montana said they want a pay increase too.

“They’re not wrong in their assertions they need more money,” Brett Schandelson, development and operations bureau chief with the Office of State Public Defender, told the Montana State News Bureau. “On the other side, we are a state entity bound by legislative appropriation.”