Model Contract For Public Defense Services (2000)

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From the Preface and Introduction to the 2000 Edition

This Model Contract for Public Defense Services is a joint project of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and the Criminal Courts Technical Assistance Project. Founded in 1911, NLADA provides training, technical assistance, publications, planning, professional liability insurance, and public policy and media advocacy, to support providers of legal aid and indigent defense. The Criminal Courts Technical Assistance Project, operated by the American University Justice Programs Office, is a joint undertaking of the American University, NLADA, the Pretrial Services Resource Center, and the Justice Management Institute. Begun in 1997, the Project provides on-site and office-based technical assistance to criminal courts, prosecuting attorney offices, pretrial services and court services agencies, State Administrative Offices of the Courts, indigent defense agencies, and general government agencies responsible for criminal justice system policy development or funding, at the state and local levels of government. The Project is funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the United States Department of Justice. The Model Contract was issued by the CCTAP in October 1999 as one of eight resource documents for criminal justice agencies. It was adopted by the NLADA Defender Council and the NLADA Board of Directors in December 1999. 

This model contract is designed to facilitate the implementation of the NLADA and ABA guidelines for promoting quality in a contract defender program, to give practical, usable form to the guidelines with minimal need for implementational drafting. It is intended to help ensure that indigent individuals accused of crime in a jurisdiction which has opted to contract for indigent defense services do not receive a lesser quality of justice than similarly situated individuals in a neighboring jurisdiction with an adequately funded and administered public defender or assigned counsel system. It should be utilized not only as the basis for a contract for indigent defense services, but as a point of reference for a Request for Proposals by a court or unit of government interested in contracting for indigent defense services. Like the Contracting Guidelines themselves, it is intended to provide “an approach to providing quality service which will prevent municipal liability.” It is not intended as a one-size-fits-all approach, but as a template capable of infinite variation to accommodate differences among jurisdictions in procedures, laws, legal practice, and the types of cases desired to be contracted out, while helping state and local governments, the courts, and the defender community, maintain a fundamental focus on the quality of legal services for low-income individuals, with some consistency across the nation.

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I. Duration of Contract

II. Definitions

III. Independent Contractor

IV. Policy Board

V. Agency's Employees and Equipment

VI. Minimum Qualifications for Agency Attorneys

VII. Performance Requirements

VII. Variance

IX. Asssignment of Complex Litigation Cases

X. Attorney Evaluation

XII. Compensation and Method of Payment

XIII. Requests for Contract Modifications

XIV. Reports and Inspections

XV. Establishment and Maintenance of Records

XVI. Hold Harmless and Indemnification

XVII. Insurance

XVIII. Evaluation Guidelines

XIX. Corrective Action

XX. Termination and Suspension

XXI. Responsibility of Managing Director of Agency

XXII. Assignment/Subcontracting

XXIII. Renegotiation 

XXIV. Attorney's Fees

XXV. Notices

XXVI. The Parties' Entire Contract/Waiver of Default

XXVII. Nondiscrimination 

XXVIII. Conflict of Interest