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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.


This work, copyright 2004 by Abbe Smith, was originally published in the UC Davis Law Review, vol. 37, pp. 1203-1265, copyright 2004 by The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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37 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1203-1265 (2004)

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