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Broken Contracts: Contract Counsel Toolkit

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2020
45 pages
This toolkit provides detailed guidance for stakeholders of a juvenile defense system who are considering creating or reforming their contract counsel system.
The first section of the toolkit addresses considerations for contract counsel systems. Topics addressed in this section are the structure of the contracting process, qualifications and scope of the contract, scope of work, payment, and oversight. The second section of the toolkit discusses independent contractors versus employees. The third section provides guidance on quality reviews for court-appointed or contract counsel who represent youth in delinquency proceedings. Resources provided in this section include the goals of quality reviews and a working example of quality reviews of contract counsel. The fourth major section of the toolkit focuses on core competencies of court-appointed or contract counsel representing youth in delinquency proceedings. Topics addressed include competency in state and local delinquency law and procedure, non-delinquency topics relevant to representing youth, adolescent development principles that relate to client advocacy, and effective attorney-client relationship management. Other topics in this section are adolescent development principles that relate to client advocacy, effective attorney-client relationship management, detention/initial hearing advocacy, and plea negotiations and client advising. Other major sections of the toolkit provide guidance on the training checklist, a sample request for qualifications, a sample contract, a checklist of data that should be collected by contract counsel systems, and state appointed counsel pay rates for juvenile delinquency representation.