Find the full op-ed here.

By Shaun Abreu and Kevin Riley

Eugene Toussaint has been a public defender in Queens for over a decade. But with a caseload of more than 100 clients and scores of his colleagues leaving for better-paying jobs, he fears he may be reaching a breaking point.

New Yorkers who are charged with a crime have a right to a lawyer. So do New Yorkers who are facing an eviction in Housing Court. But lately, our city’s free legal service providers have been stretched so thin as to render these rights practically defunct. Insufficient funding levels, rising operational costs, and wage inequality between those doing the prosecuting and those doing the defending have created an unsustainable financial model for legal service providers.