Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is bringing on nearly 40 new assistant district attorneys.
According to a memo obtained by The Legal, 38 line prosecutors are set to join the office Wednesday. The new hires come from a range of backgrounds, including a former clerk for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer and a former legislative intern for state House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny.
“We are very excited that such a diverse and talented group of lawyers are joining the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office,” Benjamin Waxman, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said in an emailed statement. “This is another sign that our recruitment efforts are making the DAO one of the most attractive prosecutorial offices in the nation for both new attorneys and lateral hires alike.”
Krasner, who came into the office at the start of 2018 on a platform of criminal justice reform, has had low staffing levels ever since 31 prosecutors were dismissed from the office in early January. In the wake of those departures, several sources told The Legal that line prosecutors were seeing increasing workloads.
Although the office has since brought several new prosecutors on board, the 38 new hires is the largest influx of new blood for Krasner’s nine-month-old administration.
According to the memo, the majority of the new hires are recent law school graduates, although some are coming from big law firms, including one hire from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and another from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The hires also come from law schools across the country, such as Harvard, the University of Michigan and Stanford, although 21 of the new hires attended schools in Pennsylvania.
Several of the new hires also had experience interning with prosecutors offices across the country, including U.S. attorney’s offices in the District of Columbia and the Eastern District of New York, as well as the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Two of the new hires had previously also worked as paralegals for the office.
Some of the other new hires have had intern experience with defense organizations, including the Federal Community Defender’s Office in Pennsylvania and the Broward County Public Defender’s Office.
Along with the initial mass dismissal, Krasner’s office has seen numerous departures from veteran prosecutors, but Krasner maintained that his office was continuing to increase efforts to recruit talent from across the country.
As part of that effort, over the summer the office unveiled a new compensation structure that included raises for more than 200 attorneys and a nearly $10,000 increase to the starting salary, which had been $51,000.
The boost to a $60,000 starting salary put Philadelphia within range of its prosecutorial counterparts in New York City. According to the New York Law Journal, starting salary for Brooklyn prosecutors is $60,000, while first-year prosecutors in Manhattan make $62,500 and Bronx prosecutors make $63,000.