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Notable Recent Publications - August, 2023

Notable Recent Publications features the latest empirical research and data related to indigent defense. Should you have suggestions, ideas for work that should be included, or trouble accessing any of the articles featured, please write to


Aliya Birnbaum & Emily Haney-Caron, What advice do parents give their children about plea bargains? Understanding the role of parent race, attorney race, and attorney recommendations, Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Vol 21/2, pp. 128-155.

This study examined parent acquiescence to attorney recommendations in plea bargain decisions, and the effect of racial similarity between an attorney and their juvenile client’s parent. Scholarship indicates that youth are vulnerable to the influence of authority figures in plea-bargaining, leading to a reliance on parental and attorney input for plea decisions. Parents read a vignette with attorney’s race manipulated, imagining they are participating in the plea-bargaining process and the attorney is giving them recommendations regarding how to plea. Results show White parents were more likely to take a plea and had more trust in the attorneys. Black attorneys were found to be most trustworthy, especially for White parents. Parent race impacted plea advice acquiescence more than attorney/parent racial similarity.

Lucinda Soon, Almuth McDowall & Kevin R. H. Teoh. Towards a context-specific approach to understanding lawyers' well-being: A synthesis review and future research agenda. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law.

Legal sector organisations face mounting pressure to protect and promote lawyers’ wellbeing. However, knowledge is fragmented, hindering research and practice development. Our review investigated current conceptual understanding and empirical evidence of contextual influences. We systematically mapped the global scholarly and grey literature published since 1970, reviewing 145 relevant publications. Lawyers’ well-being is conceptualised primarily as ill-being, despite well-being’s positive facets. Empirical consideration of work context is mostly absent, though we deduce a focus on large commercial law firm practice and public service/legal aid. Our explanatory synthesis is abductive, coalescing Bourdieu’s concepts of field and habitus with Hobfoll’s conservation of resources theory to explain how context influences lawyers’ well-being via distinct resource losses. We urge theoretical development to elucidate the role of context and theory-driven research on the cumulative effects of resource loss and gain. Recommendations for practice include a renewed focus on job design and line management upskilling.

News Article

L.A. County’s public defender uses AI to improve client management Statescoop.

[From the article:] "[I]n a case study published Wednesday it expects the technology will help the 109-year-old office reduce its manual data entry from documents by up to 85%. The new system also makes all of the documents searchable and proactively alerts defenders to filings from law enforcement, courts and the district attorney’s office."


Ben Polk, Fair Pay for Public Defenders: If Mongolia Can Do It, Any Country Can. Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. 

[From the blog post:] "On the first day of this year, Mongolia’s public defenders received a 300% pay raise. A new law took effect on January 1st that ties the compensation of publicly funded defense attorneys to their courtroom counterparts, prosecutors. Although Mongolia ranks among the world’s poorest countries, it has achieved something that many of the world’s wealthiest state have failed to: pay equity between public defenders and public prosecutors." 

Student paper 

Yuna Li, Zoe Lin, John Max Grunewald, Caroline Wineburg, Geonarratives for Video Mitigation.

[From the website:] "We created animated maps and illustrations that visualized the inequities faced by Legal Aid Society clients, all of whom are members of marginalized communities in New York City. Through applied geo-narratives (i.e. mapmaking) as a method for storytelling through 'social geography,' we assisted the Legal Aid Society in visualizing how trauma, community, environment, and social factors are linked to larger social forces that help or hinder their decision-making”