Fredrikson & Byron and Northwestern University School of Law: Collaboration results in first legal manual for attorneys representing those facing death penalty around the world

July 10, 2013

The Minneapolis law firm of Fredrikson & Byron and the Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) at Northwestern University School of Law have published the first international law manual, “Representing Individuals Facing the Death Penalty: A Best Practices Manual.” The manual, which is written in connection with Death Penalty Worldwide, provides lawyers with legal arguments and strategic guidance in representing individuals facing the death penalty around the world.

“We’re proud to collaborate with CIHR on this important effort,” says John Koneck, president of Fredrikson & Byron. “Members of our firm have worked on several death penalty cases, including a recent one that resulted in freeing Damon Thibodeaux after 15 years on death row. We had the luxury of a myriad of U.S. resources for attorneys involved in death penalty work that don’t exist in most areas of the world.”

The new manual is a step-by-step guide designed to assist a legal representative through all stages of a capital case, from the moment of an individual’s arrest to their final clemency application. Because of its intended use in many jurisdictions throughout the world, the manual does not address the law or standards that may apply in a particular area, but instead offers an outline of general principles and strategies that are universal.

“Lawyers in the global south – particularly in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East – have little recourse to training materials to guide them in defending a capital case,” says Sandra Babcock, clinical professor and founder of Death Penalty Worldwide. “This manual fills that void by sharing the lessons learned by experienced capital defense counsel around the world.”

“We hope that this manual will be the starting point of a broader project involving lawyers working on death penalty cases all over the world, says Aurélie Plaçais, program director of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty. “The manual is intended to become the centerpiece of trainings around the world. We hope this will lead to an informal international network of capital defense lawyers, who can help each other and address the feelings of isolation that come from doing this work alone.”

Death Penalty Worldwide is a project directed by Professor Sandra Babcock of the Center of International Human Rights of Northwestern University School of Law.  The project works to fill a void in current information concerning the death penalty around the world by providing detailed and transparent information regarding the application of the death penalty in law and in practice in every country that retains it. In addition to sharing “Representing Individuals Facing the Death Penalty” at no cost to site visitors who wish to download it, international research and legal resources are available at www.deathpenaltyworldwide.org. A French version and video of the manual’s lead author is available at http://bit.ly/1aTbM6b. The manual’s pages may be photocopied and distributed freely. This manual will be translated into Arabic and Chinese by the end of 2013.

Fredrikson & Byron is a 275-attorney law firm based in Minneapolis, with offices in Bismarck, Des Moines, Fargo, Monterrey, Mexico, and Shanghai, China. Fredrikson & Byron has a reputation as the firm “where law and business meet”. Our attorneys bring business acumen and entrepreneurial thinking to work with clients, and operate as business advisors and strategic partners, as well as legal counselors. More information about the firm is available at www.fredlaw.com. Follow us on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FredriksonLaw.

Media Contact: Kelly Griffith, Marketing Communications Manager, 612.492.7514, kgriffith@fredlaw.com