Community Oriented Defense

Four Pillars of Community Oriented Defense (developed by The Bronx Defenders)

  • Seamless access to services that meet clients' legal and social support needs.
    Community oriented defense begins with a commitment to addressing clients’ most pressing legal and social support needs. Because the universe of these needs will vary from community to community, a community oriented defender office must begin by identifying the full range of client needs.
  • Dynamic, interdisciplinary communication.
    The interdisciplinary team alone is not what drives the success of community oriented defense — it is the team’s culture of open, frequent, and meaningful communication.
  • Advocates with an interdisciplinary skill set.
    A community oriented defender goes beyond the zealous advocacy of the committed public defender with an enhanced set of skills that are both client-centered and interdisciplinary.
  • A robust understanding of, and connection to, the community served.
    Community oriented defense recognizes that an advocate who is better able to relate to their client, by having spent time in their neighborhood and with members of their community, will be more likely to provide authentic and effective representation.

Ten Principles of Community Oriented Defense (developed by Brennan Center for Justice)

  1. Create a Client-Centered Practice.
  2. Meet Clients' Needs.
  3. Partner with the Community.
  4. Fix Systemic Problems.
  5. Educate the Public.
  6. Collaborate.
  7. Address Civil Legal Needs.
  8. Pursue a Multidisciplinary Approach.
  9. Seek Necessary Support.
  10. Engage with Fellow Community Oriented Defense Members.

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