NYSDA staff assist county and state officials, as well as public defense programs, with questions regarding workloads, budgets, and other issues. NYSDA has long been an affiliate organization of the New York State Association of Counties, and has worked closely with the Indigent Legal Services Office since its inception.
In 1994, NYSDA completed an exhaustive study of practices used around the state for determining whether potential clients were eligible for public defense services. Entitled Determining Eligibility for Appointed Counsel in New York State: A Report from the Public Defense Backup Center, it described deficiencies in eligibility practice statewide. Its findings as to the lack of uniformity in criteria and procedures remained all too accurate for over 20 years. Its recommendations served as a resource supporting efforts to reform eligibility practices. In 2015, the Indigent Legal Services Office held hearings on eligibility in preparation for creating statewide standards pursuant to its statutory authority and designation as the implementing authority for the settlement of the historic Hurrell-Harring lawsuit. NYSDA provided testimony for those hearings and awaits the advent of the resulting standards.
NYSDA produces other position papers, studies, and documents relating to public defense. Current writings may be found at Studies under Our Work, while archived materials are found at under NYSDA History at Reports & Studies.