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The Champion

March 2012 , Page 24 

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Eight Amazing Tips For Defenders’ Survival In Tough Times

By Penelope S. Strong

All defenders — whether under court appointment or government contract or in a defender office — experience days in which they find themselves sunk to the farthest depths of despair and despondency. These feelings are brought on by the usual travails of a burdensome caseload, demanding and needy clients, unsympathetic judges, and predatory prosecutors.

If a client’s needs and desires oscillate like the gloomy, dark figures of a Goya painting, and a defense lawyer leaves the jail or court feeling like she stepped out of the carnage of Guernica, perhaps this article will provide some practical and inspirational assistance.

1. Triage and manage cases.

Learn to handle a large caseload. Delegate, triage, and live by the calendar, but avoid overload. A defender who finds himself weighed down should seek help from people above and below. It is important to know the ABA and state ethics opinions on defender caseloads,1 and to use these opinions when interacting with supervisors or

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