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Quality over quantity: Legal representation at the Asylum Office
Law & Policy  (IF1.432),  Pub Date : 2021-10-28, DOI: 10.1111/lapo.12177
Hillary Mellinger

Quantitative studies emphasize a positive relationship between legal representation and asylum case outcomes but are stymied by potential case-selection bias. Moreover, few studies address whether an attorney's quality level might affect case outcomes or how high-quality representation should be conceptualized. The present study informs this literature by drawing on 28 interviews with immigration attorneys who practice before the Asylum Office. It finds that most interviewees accept challenging asylum cases and share a “big picture” understanding of what high-quality representation should entail. However, interviewees differ in their approach to declaration writing and their perceptions of the quality level of the private bar.