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Ensuring Early Access to Legal Counsel: Exploring Implementation and Outcomes in Two Jurisdictions

Jurisdictions nationwide have begun implementing programs to ensure access to legal counsel for defendants at their first appearance in court to improve case outcomes and save costs. The Urban Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago, in partnership with MW Consulting, examined the implementation of and outcomes associated with two programs providing legal counsel to defendants at first appearance.

Join us for a virtual event to learn about how these programs were implemented, the programs’ effects on defendant-level outcomes and system-level costs, and implications for other jurisdictions interested in ensuring early access to legal counsel for defendants.



  • Leslie Howitt, Research and Data Specialist, Utah Indigent Defense Commission
  • Jeanette Hussemann, Principal Research Scientist, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Genevieve Citrin Ray, Senior Research Director, NORC at the University of Chicago
  • Kerri Selleck, Chief Public Defender, Barry County Public Defender’s Office
  • Jonah Siegel, Research Director, Michigan Indigent Defense Commission
  • Michael Wilson, Economist and Research Consultant, MW Consulting
  • Jennifer Yahner, Senior Research Fellow, Urban Institute


Support for this event was provided by Stand Together. For more information on Urban’s funding policies, go to


Date & Time Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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Urban Institute Speaker
  • Senior Research Fellow
    Associate Director, Center for Victim Research