November 1, 2001
Wiener Center for Social Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government
For the past two years, as members of the Executive Session on Public Defense at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, managers have been telling their stories and distilling lessons from their experiences as defense lawyers, supervisors, and leaders in the field. These stories and experiences suggest three dimensions in which managers of public defense services can lead their organizations and their field. First, inside their offices, they can offer a special clarity of vision. Second, with their colleagues in other criminal justice agencies, they can build consensus for positive reforms within the whole system. Third, in public debate, they can advance a vision of crime prevention that rises above ideology. No one leader has completely succeeded in this endeavor, but together the efforts of these managers provide a coherent picture of leadership in these three dimensions. This paper, illustrated with examples from around the country, is a guide to how others might adopt a similar, bold vision of management in public defense.
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