Public defenders need to start from a strong base of overall wellness to best represent their clients under what are frequently challenging circumstances. Employee wellness is multi-layered, and best practices toward sustainability can be woven into organization operations, policies, procedures, training, supervision, atmosphere, and interpersonal interactions.

The end goal is to increase not only individual resilience, but community resilience of the office, which creates sustainability. When individual well-being is addressed, we can better support the well-being of our colleagues and teams. Only then can we become a community that is adaptable and sustainable and that provides the level of representation our clients deserve.


  1. Clients are best served by interdisciplinary teams that strive for wellbeing.
  2. Sustainability of the public defender office is a goal all staff actively strive toward.
  3. Leadership and supervisors model wellness and set standards for sustainability.
  4. Staff promote workplace values that align with a healthy work culture.
  5. Leadership and staff actively seek to uphold principles of equity and inclusion while striving to create a welcoming environment for all.
  6. The office normalizes and prepares for workplace absences.
  7. The office creates time and space for individuals to reflect on positive and negative work experiences in a supportive environment.
  8. The physical atmosphere of the workplace is designed with wellness in mind.
  9. Training programs regularly encompass a sustainability component.
  10. Leadership creates clear policies and expectations that properly balance the health and well-being of staff with the interests of clients.