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April 25, 2022
2022 RFQ: Due by 5 PM Monday, May 9th, 2022
Public Defense Community and Potential Contractors:

The PDSC and OPDS are listening to the provider community, and we are aware that circumstances are dire and that significant improvements are needed to address the current workload. Public defense work is mission-oriented, challenging, and taxing under normal circumstances.  And it requires time.  An attorney cannot ethically serve their client if they do not have the time to understand both their client and their client’s case.  The PDSC and OPDS are committed to supporting all public defense attorneys in providing high-quality representation to their clients consistent with the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.  No public defense attorney should be required to accept appointments to cases in violation of Rule 1.7 of the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.  Rule 1.7 requires that attorneys not accept more appointments than they can ethically handle.  We expect all public defense attorneys to comply with Rule 1.7 and will always support adherence to this and all of the other Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.   
We enter the 2022 contracting cycle—the 60th year of Gideon—in a difficult time for public defense in Oregon.  Covid has exacerbated an already strained system.  Increasing caseloads, turnover, and shortages of qualified attorneys across the state are leaving Oregonians without representation in their cases, sometimes while the accused sit in custody. We have seen public defense clients continue to struggle in the face of limited resources, substance use, mental health conditions, homelessness, trauma, and poverty.  Oregon’s public defense community has been resilient in the face of these obstacles for the sake of their clients.  The Sixth Amendment requires that the ability to pay should never decide the quality of someone’s representation or their ability to take their case to trial.  Gideon’s promise of equal access to justice is only available with a well-supported public defense system. It is the hardworking, mission-driven public defense providers of Oregon that have labored under this system for the sake of the people they are called on to defend.
We recognize that this contract does not fully meet the needs of public defenders and their clients.  We are striving to improve as we work towards a fully funded and supported public defense system for all Oregonians.  Attached is the PDSC’s Request for Qualifications to initiate contract discussions for the one-year public defense contracts effective July 1, 2022.  Documents attached include: (1) RFQ documents and instructions, (2) copies of the criminal, non-PCRP juvenile, and PCRP contracts, (3) the list of attorney reimbursement rates, and (4) the OPDS case counting guidelines (applicable for non-PCRP providers).
The RFQ is much simpler than in past contracting cycles.  The PDSC is requesting
information on the number of attorney FTE, or portion thereof, you seek to have funded, and the types of cases to which those attorneys wish to receive appointments.  There is additional information requested regarding support staff, investigators, and specialty courts.  The summary of information can be found on pages 10 and 11 of the RFQ.  Responses to the RFQ are due by 5 PM May 9, 2022, and they should be submitted as a pdf document to The proposed contracts will be presented to the PDSC on June 23, 2022.    
There are three types of public defense contracts for this contracting cycle—criminal (including statewide contracts), non-PCRP juvenile, and PCRP—as the legislature has directed the agency to separate out these contracts.  Potential contractors should submit one pdf document for each type of contract they are seeking (so if your entity, or you as an individual attorney contractor, receive criminal and juvenile appointments, you will need to submit separate responses for each).
The PDSC vetted the general terms to all three contracts after significant stakeholder and provider feedback.  It is important for the agency to have consistent terms that apply to all similarly situated contracts to ensure equity in the agency’s relationships with various contractors and support the agency’s ability to collect data to inform program development and contract improvement.  The PDSC and OPDS will consider responses with these principles in mind.
I am aware that attorneys have differing perspectives on both past changes and those currently proposed, as well as the overall direction of public defense in Oregon.  Having been a part of transforming other public defense systems, I understand that system change is hard and takes time.  The proposed contracts for the upcoming contract period are not perfect, but there are significant improvements in the contract terms.  I strongly believe these improvements help lay the foundation for additional investments in the future, investments that will help move Oregon toward a public defense system in which you have the time and resources to zealously advocate for each client you serve.
Best regards,

Stephen Singer
Executive Director
Office of Public Defense Services

2022 PDSC RFQ for Legal Services Contracts
OPDS Case Counting Guidelines 2022
Reimbursement Amounts
This letter and enclosure documents can be located on our Requests for Proposals web page and the main page of our website, within the Latest News section.

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