(Dis)advantage, Collateral Consequences and Criminal Defense Work
Under review


Academic Article




Quirouette, M., Abellan-Almenara, M., Batista, C.

In this paper, we explore issues related to both client and lawyer (dis)advantage, the right to effective counsel and the consideration of collateral consequences in criminal courts. Drawing from qualitative interviews with 65 criminal defense lawyers, we document and analyze how the ‘duty to inform’ clients about collateral consequences of criminal convictions is experienced and negotiated by public defense lawyers and private counsel taking on indigent defense work. We engage with scholarship on privilege and the reproduction of social inequality via criminal justice, the constrained discretion of frontline legal actors, questions of access to justice, and the unique organizational realities of public defenders. Our findings suggest the imposition of this formalized ‘duty to inform’ can exacerbate injustice despite defense efforts. We show when and how lawyers and their clients face additional burdens, which shape how collateral consequences are (1) identified, (2) brought up in court, and (3) received by prosecutors and judges. Our work highlights that challenges posed by collateral consequences cannot be overcome via criminal defense efforts alone. We end with a call to explore other redress avenues ranging from decriminalization to criminal record expungements