This paper advocates for the nationwide education of future and existing public defense system professionals, fully prepared to undertake the governmental function of providing constitutionally required legal representation. It sets out a plan for the National Defender Leadership Institute (NDLI) to partner with law schools, strategically identified throughout the country to target a variety of law student and legal education communities, to develop and provide management and leadership for public defense system curricula, through: (a) a permanent 3-week summer Defender Leadership College; (b) graduate level elective courses in Public Defense Leadership & Management; and (c) graduate level degrees in Public Defense Leadership & Management.
This Article, published at 75 Mo.L.Rev. 715, is a basic introduction to the provision of indigent defense services in state courts throughout the country and the ethical obligations of the attorneys who provide those services. First, the Article briefly quantifies what currently exists in our right to counsel systems -- what we know, and what we do not know. The Article then discusses the rules that generally govern the ethics of representation provided by indigent defense attorneys. Third, the Article examines the measures by which attorneys can know whether they are fulfilling and will continue to fulfill their ethical obligations. Finally, the Article discusses the responsibilities of the broader justice system to ensure ethical representation of indigent defendants and why that goal is rarely achieved.
Through a grant from the Open Society Institute, in 2001 NLADA brought together an advisory committee to decide on a concrete plan for training sessions to be offered to defender leaders and managers at all levels of expertise and specifically including the needs of assigned counsel and contract laywers. This is the report of that committee, which became the foundational document that launched the National Defender Leadership Institute (NDLI).