The union representing 3,500 state of California-employed attorneys and hearing officers sued Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 29, claiming that its members’ salaries are so paltry that they threaten to drain the state’s legal ranks of competent professionals.

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment — the union better known as CASE — contends that some of its members make less than half as much as their counterparts in local and federal government agencies. They’ve asked a Sacramento County Superior Court judge to appoint a special master and to order pay hikes for CASE members based on the master’s analysis of comparable wages.

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