The Champion

July 2016 , Page 28 

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‘A Little Communication Would Have Been Nice, Since This Is My Life:’ Defendant Views on the Attorney-Client Relationship

By Chelsea Davis, Ayesha Delany-Brumsey, and Jim Parsons

Editor’s Note: The authors — Chelsea Davis, Ayesha Delany-Brumsey, and Jim Parsons — conducted the research described in this article in partnership with researchers from Policy Research Associates. In addition to this article, the authors will publish other results from this study in social science peer-reviewed journals, law review journals, and through the Vera Institute of Justice website.

“We communicated. Communication was the key to everything. If you don’t talk to your lawyer, you’re doomed from the start.” 

—  45-year-old black woman from the Bronx, with 31 years of criminal justice involvement

Public defenders arrive in their clients’ lives at a stressful time and, as virtual strangers, are expected to compassionately and effectively represent their best interests. This is not a trivial task, particularly when many defender offices are underresourced, and when individual defenders are often stretched thin and have little time to meet with their clients. How, then, a

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