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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83126 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Defense Practice (From Working With Legal Assistants - A Team Approach for Lawyers and Legal Assistants, Volume 2, P 757-769, 1981, Paul G Ulrich and Robert S Mucklestone, ed.)
Author(s): R D Heideman
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Association
Sale Source: American Bar Association
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the use of a legal assistant in criminal defense practice and the interaction between the lawyer, the assistant, the defendant, and the witnesses.
Abstract: Among tasks which the assistant can perform are initial client interviews, trial preparation, and posttrial followup. Legal assistants can be investigators, secretaries, office managers, outside consultants, and others involved in helping a case to reach a successful conclusion. The lawyer and assistant are a team in which roles are identified so as to make the best use of the time and talents of each team member. The lawyer directs the case and sets goals and delegates tasks to other team members from the beginning. The initial decision -- whether or not to accept representation -- is often the most important decision for the lawyer, the client, and the team. The assistant should gather data on the client's prior criminal record, current criminal charges, family, work history, educational level, and ability to pay. The assistant should give this information to the lawyer for consideration in the lawyer's initial interview. The lawyer should accept a case only after consultation with other team members and the client. The initial case management conference sets the goals and objectives for the case. Some 20 tasks must be assigned among team members. One assistant should work with the client to relay the lawyer's plans and expectations, to arrange appointments with the lawyer, to reassure the client and keep expectations realistic, and to promote communication among team members. The assistant also has specific duties regarding the initial case conference, the fact development, the pretrial conference, final trial preparation, preparation of a trial notebook, and during and after the trial. Aid from legal assistants will greatly reduce the strain usually experienced by criminal defense lawyers. Forms are attached.
Index Term(s): Criminal proceedings; Defense counsel; Defense preparation; Paralegals
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