Systemic Reform

The Representation Project works with local stakeholders in death penalty jurisdictions to effect badly needed reform of their death penalty systems and to ensure fairness, due process, and effective legal representation. In 2003 the Project led the effort that produced the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases, now the widely accepted national standard of care for the defense effort in death penalty cases. The Representation Project’s efforts have resulted in adoption and implementation of the ABA Guidelines in many jurisdictions, and the Project is engaged in ongoing efforts to implement the Guidelines across the country.

Domestic & International Training & Assistance

We work closely with the capital defender community to provide strategic support and resources, including expert testimony from Project staff. Each year, Project staff provides training at dozens of local and national legal seminars for judges and lawyers in the United States. The Project has also become the leading expert on providing international training to other counties that use the death penalty – it has worked for more than a decade with judges and lawyers in China, Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam, providing expertise, training, and advice.

Volunteer Recruitment

The Representation Project receives many requests from lawyers, judges, prisoners, and family members for legal assistance. Hundreds of desperate death-sentenced prisoners have no counsel to challenge their convictions and death sentences. The Project works with the nation’s top civil law firms to recruit lawyers to provide pro bono representation for prisoners, to challenge methods of execution and prison conditions, and to file amicus briefs at the United States Supreme Court.


The Representation Project speaks at dozens of meetings every year, to bar associations, community and religious groups, and judicial conferences about the problems with the administration of the death penalty and proven strategies that reduce mistakes and wrongful convictions.

Steering Committee