Michael Pinard


Over the past two decades, public defender offices across the country have broadened the range of defense services provided to indigent clients. These expanded services, some of which involve representing clients on related non-criminal matters such as housing and public benefits, are included in what is now commonly referred to as "holistic representation."' This form of representation strives to encompass the various underlying issues that often lead to clients’ experiences with the criminal justice system, with the aim of addressing those circumstances and preventing future criminal involvement. Holistic representation signals a paradigmatic shift in defense philosophy and ideology and has transformed criminal defense practice by broadening the conception of what defense lawyers actually do. This essay will explore this conception of holistic representation by looking at two facets of our criminal justice system-collateral consequences of criminal convictions, such as those that relate to housing, public benefits, employment and deportation, and ex-offender reentry. It will discuss the need for criminal defense attorneys to incorporate both collateral consequences and reentry components into their practices for all clients – including those charges with felonies and misdemeanors. Finally, this essay explores some objections to this expanded role for the lawyer.

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Criminal Law Commons