Start Date: 9/30/2021 3:00 PM EDT
End Date: 9/30/2021 4:30 PM EDT
Webinar: Use of Delphi Method in ABA SCLAID Public Defense Workload Series
September 30, 2021 from 3:00-4:30pm Eastern
Webinar Faculty: Stephen Hanlon
About the Webinar:
A report on lessons learned about public defender workload studies over the course of the last eight years. All attendees please read this report before the webinar. https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/events/legal_aid_indigent_defendants/ls-sclaid-indef-delphi-method-lessons.pdf
About the Faculty: Stephen F Hanlon began practicing law with his father, John F Hanlon, about 53 years ago in St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Hanlon was mentored by his father, who was considered by all who knew him to be “a lawyer’s lawyer.” When Mr. Hanlon was the Pro Bono Partner at Holland & Knight for 23 years, he was also mentored by Chesterfield Smith, one of America’s great lawyers, who was the founder of Holland & Knight and the President of the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1973.
When Chesterfield Smith wanted to speak out or litigate on behalf of a person or cause he believed in, but knew he could not convince his firm to undertake the case because of the controversial nature of the matter, he spoke out, wrote and filed lawsuits in the name of “Citizen Smith.”
When Mr. Hanlon first started representing black school children in Florida in the mid-1970s, successfully challenging Florida’s “Functional Literacy Test” with his brilliant partner Rob Shapiro, Mr. Hanlon’s clients and their parents and their teachers all called him “Lawyer Hanlon,” a name he has always cherished. The African American survivors and descendants of the town of Rosewood, destroyed in a race riot in 1923, also called Mr. Hanlon “Lawyer Hanlon” when he and his partner Martha Barnett, former President of the American Bar Association, represented them in their successful efforts to recover compensation of $2.1 million in the Florida Legislature in 1993.
So Mr. Hanlon has now formed a new law firm, to be known as “Lawyer Hanlon,” a firm that will work with other law firms, lawyers, law professors and law students and experts who have expressed an interest in joining him in his efforts. Mr. Hanlon has held various positions in the American Bar Association and the National Association for Public Defense, but like Chesterfield Smith1, he now wants to speak out, write, testify, advocate and initiate litigatation in areas that may not be appropriate for those institutions, given their respective missions and their respective constituencies.
Throughout most of Mr. Hanlon’s career, he has been a civil rights lawyer doing institutional reform litigation (schools, prisons, public health institutions, public housing, etc.). The New York Times recently called him “one of the leading voices in public interest law for decades.” About twenty years ago, the great American death penalty lawyer George Kendall asked Mr. Hanlon to turn his attention to America’s criminal “justice” system, particularly, America’s indigent defense system. At that time, Mr. Hanlon had never done any work on indigent defense systems. When he went inside those courtrooms and saw what was actually going on -- what he would eventually call America’s “criminal processing system – Mr. Hanlon was shocked by what he saw and heard.
For the next twenty years, Mr. Hanlon filed systemic litigation attacking America’s criminal processing system, publishing law review articles about that system, teaching a law school course at St. Louis University School of Law about that system, speaking out publicly about that system and testifying as an expert witness in litigation seeking to change that system. His work has been featured in the New York Times, on 60 Minutes and on the PBS Evening News Hour. Mr. Hanlon has now concluded that, with rare exceptions, America’s criminal processing system is systemically unconstitutional and unethical. And now we can now prove that point with reliable data and analytics. Most disturbingly, Mr. Hanlon has concluded that we – all of us in our profession, and especially his generation of lawyers and judges -- have been the principal facilitators of mass incarceration in our nation, which has inflicted untold damage on millions of people, particularly black and brown people. Mr. Hanlon is now convinced, as he said on the PBS Evening NewsHour, that “you cannot do mass incarceration unless the entire legal system just rolls over and plays dead.” In the memorable words of the late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, we – all of us -- have become nothing more than “loyal foot soldiers in the Executive’s war on crime.”
Mr. Hanlon has been the Project Leader for ABA public defender workload studies done in four states, with three more such studies now underway. The ABA Journal Magazine has called him “the Oracle” for public defender workload studies. Mr. Hanlon took the oath of admission to The Missouri Bar on September 3, 1966. Later, he would take similar oaths of admission to the bar in both Florida and Washington, D.C. Like his father and like Chesterfield Smith before him, Mr. Hanlon took his oath of admission seriously, particularly the following sections: • I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States… • That I will at all times conduct myself in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct… • That I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay anyone’s cause for lucre or malice. • So help me God.
Today, all over America, many judges, prosecutors and, yes, even public defenders in our criminal processing system are routinely violating the Constitution and the Rules of Judicial and Professional Conduct that bind all of us in our profession. However, some courageous public defenders, armed with the results of the ABA workload studies that Mr. Hanlon has led, are standing up to the courts and fighting back.
Mr. Hanlon is 78-years-old, and he says he’s just getting started. Again.
1 Mr. Hanlon has no illusions in this regard. Paraphrasing the great Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Mr. Hanlon likes to say, “I worked with Chesterfield Smith. I knew Chesterfield Smith. I assure you, I am no Chesterfield Smith. But I had a quantum leap in my understanding of the role of the law in our society after working wwith him for 14 years. And I can do my best to emulate his approach to the law.”