The public defender system is the legal version of Obamacare, except 50 years older. I.e., it is a government system which tries to use public dollars to entitle individuals to the service of another individual. Predictably, it often fails. At least for a part of the system, the city of Philadelphia wants out of the business:
In a controversial plan, the city of Philadelphia is planning to retain a private law firm to handle all court-appointed defense work for indigent individuals at an expected savings of $1 million annually.
. . .
Currently, some 300 to 350 lawyers accept court appointments at notoriously low fees. Although the plan is not yet a done deal, it appears that attorney Daniel-Paul Alva is likely to strike a deal with the city to create a 75-attorney firm to handle the public defender's overflow work for $9.5 million a year, the Inquirer says.
He says his firm will be more efficient than farming out the work to individual lawyers. Hence, it will improve on the "hopelessly flawed" current system by providing better representation at lower cost, according to Alva.
Considering what prominent speakers and organizations have said about the state of public defense in the US, it is no surprise that a major city like Philadelphia is distancing itself from responsibility.
As I've said elsewhere, the public defender system if only for people who CAN'T afford an attorney, not those who don't want to. It was never intended to be a "public option" for those looking for free legal representation. If you are able to afford an attorney, you should.