In Colorado’s 6th Judicial District, District Attorney Christian Champagne has a staffing problem. The starting salary for attorneys in his office is $50,000, and it’s making it difficult for him to attract the talent he needs to convince them to stay. Champagne has had a position open for three-and-a-half months, and one person has applied.
One attorney in his office lived in his car for nine months because he couldn’t afford both rent and his hefty law school loan payments. Champagne said he’s about to lose that attorney to a downtown Denver law firm. Another has three jobs to support himself.
“Our hiring profile now has basically turned into, ‘independently wealthy attorney who wants to do the right thing,’” Champagne said. “I can tell you there aren’t a lot of those unicorns out there.”