In this Article I will examine Professor Ogletree's paradigm for motivating and sustaining public defenders ten years after he proposed it. I will discuss whether Professor Ogletree's paradigm works for defenders in the predominantly high-volume, urban settings in which they practice, and if so, for how long. If the paradigm works for short-term defenders only - or those with smaller caseloads - then perhaps it is a temporary, not a sustaining, motivation. I will examine whether the paradigm is helpful- on an aspirational level if nothing else – or whether it emphasizes motivations that are ultimately self-defeating. After discussing Professor Ogletree's paradigm, I will offer a paradigm of my own. As an alternative to the two-pronged model of empathy and heroism as sustaining motivations for public defender work, I suggest a three-pronged model of respect, craft, and a sense of outrage. Defenders who approach the work out of respect for client, pride in craft, and a sense of outrage about inequality, injustice, and the routine abuse of power by those in a position to wield it are able to sustain their careers despite the systemic incentives to fail.
37 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1203-1265 (2004)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Smith, Abbe, "Too Much Heart and Not Enough Heat: The Short Life and Fractured Ego of the Empathic, Heroic Public Defender" (2004). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 218.