Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)
Beginning October 1, 2013, American University, in
partnership with the National Legal Aid and Defender
Association (NLADA) and with the support of the Bureau of
Justice Assistance, initiated a project to provide technical
assistance to public defense providers to promote their
enhanced ability to adhere to the ABA Ten Principles of a
Public Defense Delivery System (Principles). The project
launched its services with a national survey of public defense
providers to obtain their perspectives on the degree to which
they are able to adhere to each of the Principles, including
selected “benchmarks” associated with each of the
Principles, obstacles encountered in adhering to the
Principles, promising practices they have developed, and
areas for which technical assistance would be useful.
The survey has been sent to over 1,000 public defense
providers identified through various information sources.
While this number is significant, it by no means represents
all of those providing public defense services in the U.S. and
we welcome hearing from others who have not received the
survey or are simply interested in being included in the
project’s information exchange activities. The survey
responses, coupled with other relevant information relating
to the challenges public defense providers are addressing
provide the foundation for developing a multi-pronged plan
for the project’s technical assistance services. These services
focus on addressing common issues of current import to
public defense providers in terms of being able to adhere to
each of the Ten Principles as well as promoting the sharing
of information on exemplary practices providers have
developed. The project’s services include:
Informational listserv used to disseminate public
defense relevant information and a facilitated listserv
discussions and other mechanisms to promote
information exchange and networking;
Three-part Webinar Series on Budget Advocacy
Interactive web meetings to promote discussion among
defense providers on issues of current import;
Compilations of exemplary practices, sample forms,
and other resources developed by public defense
Fact Sheets/Discussion Summaries on issues of current
Expert consultation on urgent issues through web
meetings and other forums;
On-site technical assistance
In addition to the above, the project announced a Right to Counsel Technical Assistance (TA) website, The website has been crafted to respond to the needs of public defense systems and to
promote field access to the Right to Counsel TA Project team and resources. By providing a focused destination for those
working with public defense systems, state and local policymakers, and those interested in learning about public defense
systems, we have designed the new Right to Counsel Technical Assistance webpage as a resource hub as well as a source of
information on upcoming public defense events. It also offers an opportunity for public defenders throughout the country to
join and participate in an interactive listserv. Highlights of the Right to Counsel Technical Assistance website include:
Homepage – see upcoming events, recent public defense related news and quick links to get to where you want to
go with one click. (Right to Counsel Technical Assistance)
Webinars – a chance to join interactive webinars on topics of interest to your public defense office and listen to
past webinars. See calendar on the homepage for webinar dates.
Join Listserv – an opportunity for public defenders to join an interactive listserv where you can ask your peers
questions, offer opinions, or simply stay connected. You must provide your public defender email address in order
to join.
Join Mailing Listserv – available to anyone, an opportunity to join a general mailing listserv and receive resource
materials and communication on upcoming events and other happenings from the Right to Counsel TA
Project team. (Join Listserv)
The project’s target audience is all state and local public defense providers, regardless of the particular “system” in which
they work – e.g., governmental defender offices, court-appointed counsel systems, and/or contract defender systems, and
combinations. Relevant project resources will also be posted on the project’s website at (www.american/edu/justice/spa/jpo)
Project Contacts
American University
Preeti Menon
Sr. Policy Associate, Justice Programs Office
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Kim Ball
Sr. Policy Advisor