Legal info for the public

Hosted by the ABA Death Penalty Representation Project, this practice area contains a password-protected online library of legal materials, as well as other information useful to lawyers for individuals facing a death sentence or who are currently on death row. The practice area was developed through the generosity of The Open Society Institute and the law firm of Shearman & Sterling.



Please join this practice area if you are currently representing a client on death row or facing the death penalty at trial.

**Those not currently representing a person facing a death sentence or on death row are free to peruse the areas of the site that are non-password protected: the calendar, news, descriptions of states with greatest need, and the other links on this page.

Pro Bono Opportunities for Lawyers:
Dozens of death rows prisoners throughout the country are without counsel and many more have been appointed attorneys who lack the training, experience or resources to provide effective representation. While each individual has the right to seek post-conviction relief of his conviction and sentence, there is no federal constitutional guarantee that a lawyer be appointed in state proceedings. State post-conviction proceedings are often the first real opportunity for prisoners to establish their innocence or demonstrate constitutional errors that infected the capital trial. 


If you are an attorney and you are interested in representing a prisoner on death row, or would like additional information, please contact us at:

ABA Death Penalty Representation Project
1050 Connecticut Ave. NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 662-1738
Fax: (202) 662-8649


Emily Olson-Gault (formerly Williams)


Laura Schaefer

Staff Attorney


Sylvia Krohn
Project Associate

About Us:

The Death Penalty Representation Project is the Association's expert on issues related to the defense effort in death penalty cases. Since 1986 its singular focus has been improving the quality and availability of legal representation for persons facing possible death sentences. Our efforts include domestic and international training and assistance, systemic reform, education, and recruitment of volunteers. There is no single factor affecting the fairness of the death penalty more than the competence and expertise of defense counsel. The Death Penalty Representation Project is proud to be the American Bar Association's expert and leader of the Association's efforts on this issue and related death penalty issues. Learn more >>

What's New

Interested in pro bono work? 

View our clip and hear from volunteer attorneys about the benefits of working with the Representation Project.

2013 Year-End Brochure

View the Representation Project's Spring 2018 Newsletter


Click here to subscribe to our E-Newsletter mailing list


Click here for current news alerts and recent studies and reports on capital punishment.

View and download copies of the 1989 and 2003 ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases.

Click here to view/download lists and summaries of court cases which cite to the ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases

Your tax-deductible financial contributions help provide the Representation Project with the resources we need to work toward equal justice for all. Thank you for your support!

Send contributions to:
ABA Death Penalty Representation Project
1050 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

or donate online!