Official Government Website

Idaho Workload Study

March 1, 2018: Idaho Workload Study Report


The Idaho State Public Defense Commission, with the assistance of Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute, will be conducting a workload study of Idaho’s public defenders with the goal of utilizing the collected data to determine Idaho-specific maximum caseload standards. Development of such standards is pursuant to explicit legislative directive.

The workload study involves three major steps, as follows:

The first step in the workload study is the time tracking component. In this step, all of Idaho’s public defenders will track the time they spend on case-related activity and report this data. We will be providing an online timekeeping piece of software to assist with this process.

Second, after the time study is complete, we will distribute a time sufficiency survey. This survey instrument will ask attorneys whether they feel they have sufficient time in their practice to complete a variety of case tasks.

Third, the final data collection activity will involve a panel of experts in the field of criminal defense, known as a Delphi Panel. This panel will make recommendations about how much time it takes to handle a variety of indigent defense cases. This process will work to determine a consensus position of all those participating in the panel.

The results of each of these three stages will then be synthesized by the Idaho Policy Institute, resulting in a recommendation about the appropriate maximum caseload standards for indigent defense attorneys in Idaho.


The PDC and IPI take the protection of sensitive information very seriously. Identifiable time-tracking data elements will be anonymized. Similarly, responses to the time sufficiency survey will be anonymized.


The time-tracking portion of the study will started April 24, 2017 and ended July 15, 2017. Boise State's IPI is currently analyzing the data that was collected.


The software program, defenderData Prime by JusticeWorks, was made available to defending attorneys. The use of defenderData Prime was NOT required for the time-tracking study.


ALL primary and conflict public defenders in Idaho were asked to participate in the time tracking portion of the study pursuant to Idaho Code 19-862A(1) (as a review of indigent defense services) and due to the small sample size of public defenders practicing in Idaho.

Attorneys who consistently track time each week were entered into weekly drawings for prizes. Attorneys who consistently tracked time for the entire 12-week period were entered into a drawing to win a scholarship to attend the Oregon Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Sunny Climate seminar in Hawaii in November. Winners are below!


If you have any questions about workload standard creation, please contact Kelly Jennings, Deputy Director, at or (208) 332-1735.

If you have questions related to time tracking or how the study was conducted, please contact Lantz McGinnis-Brown of Boise State University's Idaho Policy Institute at or (208)386-0056.


Workload Study Resources

How to Levearge Public Defense Workload Studies - Geoffrey Burkhart, American Bar Association, discusses the importance of workload studies and the new era of public defense workload studies that are occurring across the United States. "The Court should finish the business it started in Gideon."

Letter to defending attorneys- sent Jan. 5, 2017: Introductory letter regarding workload study

Letter to defending Attorneys- sent Feb. 17, 2017: letter indicating that all defending attorneys will be asked to participate in study

Letter to Defending Attorneys - sent March 1, 2017: letter requesting response regarding administrative users and information regarding incentives for attorneys

During the time-tracking portion of the study, Defending Attorneys are offered an incentive to consistently track time. Boise State will pull the names of attorneys who have consistently tracked time at the end of each week, then draw a name. That attorney will receive one of the following legal books: Idaho Court Rules, Volumes 1 and 2, 2016; Idaho Court Rules, pocket edition, 2016; or Idaho Traffic and Criminal Law Manual. At the end of the 12-week period, the attorneys who have consistently tracked their time over the course of the study will be entered into a drawing for a scholarship to attend OCDLA's Sunny Climate Criminal Law Seminar in Hawaii.


  1. Brennan Ward, Deputy Public Defender, Sandpoint, ID
  2. Anita Moore, Deputy Public Defender, Boise, ID
  3. Jason Lambert, Deputy Public Defender, Coeur d'Alene, ID
  4. Bruce Greene, Public Defender, Sandpoint, ID
  5. David Simonaitis, Deputy Public Defender, Boise, ID
  6. Susie Jensen, Deputy Public Defender, Sandpoint, ID
  7. Elizabeth Estess, Deputy Public Defender, Boise, ID
  8. Jordan Crane, Chief Public Defender, Idaho Falls, ID
  9. (Wants to remain anonymous), Public Defender, Pocatello, ID
  10. Erik Smith, Public Defender, Wallace, ID
  11. (Wants to remain anonymous), Public Defender, Nez Perce County
  12. Elizabeth Estess, Deputy Public Defender, Boise, ID

Hawaii Scholarship: Mark Coppin, Public Defender, Jerome, ID

Who do I call if I'm having technical issues?

defenderData will provide technical support at no charge for technical issues related to logging in and using the application. Support is provided from 7am to 7pm Mountain time by calling 888-696-9357. For any process/procedural questions, users will want to contact the PDC team for questions concerning the information entered for cases, time, notes, etc.

What are the relative roles of Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute and the Idaho State Public Defense Commission in relation to the workload study?

The Public Defense Commission (PDC) commissioned Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute to conduct this workload study. To that end, Boise State will play the largest role in conducting the study. They will be in charge of collecting and analyzing the data, conducting the time sufficiency survey and running the Delphi Panel. The PDC will play no role in gathering or analyzing data. The PDC will take the results of the study conducted by Boise State and use that analysis to develop a workload standard for defending attorneys across Idaho. These standards will be rigorously reviewed as part of the negotiated rulemaking process. During this process, members of the public will have many opportunities to comment on the workload standard and these comments will lead to revisions of the standard when appropriate.  

Why is time tracking important?

Time tracking is important because it allows us at the PDC and the researchers at Boise State to develop an accurate picture of how much time defending attorneys are spending on their cases at present. This data will then be analyzed and assessed through the lens of a survey to defending attorneys asking whether they have sufficient time for their cases. These results, viewed in conjunction with a focus group of experienced criminal defense attorneys, will be analyzed by BSU and reported to the PDC, who will in turn recommend workload standards to the Idaho Legislature to be adopted as part of the organization’s administrative rules.

Why track time for 12 weeks?

Time studies have generally been conducted for a period of 8-16 weeks. The appropriate middle ground, based upon research and collaboration with experts is 12 weeks. Tracking time for 12 weeks will give us a snapshot of how indigent defense cases are handled across Idaho. This time period is appropriate because it will allow us to extrapolate sufficient data to determine an appropriate workload standard. Tracking for a longer period would represent a greater burden on public defenders; tracking for a shorter period would not give us sufficient data to extrapolate to a data-driven yearly workload standard.

Will we be compensated for tracking our time?

The PDC does not have the authority or the ability to provide compensation for time tracking. However, the PDC will be providing incentives for consistent time tracking. Each week, Boise State will hold a drawing for those attorneys who have consistently tracked time for that week, with the prize being a legal book of use to defending attorneys. The grand prize drawing, for consistent time tracking across the 12-week period, will be for a scholarship to the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s Sunny Climate Seminar in Hawaii. Attorneys must consistently track time (minus vacation and sick time) over the course of the 12-weeks to be eligible for this incentive.

Are defending attorneys required to participate?

Yes. The PDC is asking all defending attorneys in Idaho to participate. This is important to allow Boise State to collect sufficient data for analyzation. With that said, the PDC cannot force attorneys to participate. We encourage participation so that we can collect the appropriate data for Idaho in order to create a workable Idaho standard for defending attorneys and provide that information to the legislature as directed. This will greatly improve the indigent defense system in Idaho. Additionally, if the data collected is voluminous and robust, we will not have to request attorneys to participate in a future study. The short-term hassle of participating in the time tracking will pay significant dividends for defending attorneys. A data-validated workload standard will ensure that defending attorneys have sufficient time to advocate zealously for their clients, as all defending attorneys wish to do. Each individual attorney’s participation ensures that their manner of practice will be reflected in the gathered data. Not participating doesn’t mean that the resulting workload standard won’t apply to your practice, it will just mean you’ve sacrificed one opportunity to inform what that workload standard will be.

Is there a specific software program to track our time?

Yes. The PDC encourages attorneys to use defenderData Prime that is being provided free of charge by Justice Works. If defending attorneys choose to use defenderData Prime, their data will automatically be anonymized and sent to the researchers at Boise State.

Are defending attorneys required to use defenderData Prime?

Defending attorneys may track time using their own software program.  Defending attorneys choosing this option, MUST contact Boise State (208-426-2848, to ensure that Boise State will get the data it needs in a redacted, anonymous usable format.

How do I access defenderData Prime?

defenderData Prime can be accessed using the web address and user name provided by Justice Works and the password you selected when initially signing into the program. If you are having difficulty logging into defenderData Prime, please contact Justice Works at 888-696-9357 or

What data is required for the study? What fields are required for defenderData Prime?

The information required for the study is the case type (felony, misdemeanor, child protection, etc.), the charges and the time entries with associated task codes. All participants, no matter how they provide their time data, are asked to provide this necessary information. Some additional fields are required for entering a case into defenderData Prime. Those using Prime will have to enter the client’s name, the case number and the county in which the representation is occurring. Again, the client’s name and case number will NOT be transmitted to Boise State nor to the PDC. In other words, the data will remain anonymous.

What do we have to track?

For this study, we are asking that attorneys track all case-specific, case-related and general work-related time. Attorneys, whether in-house or contracted, should track all the time spent on a public defense case, whether that time is administrative or case-related. Do NOT track time spent on a private case.

Should support staff track their time?

Support staff time is not included in the time tracking study. As a result, support staff do not need to track their time. Only attorney time should be tracked. However, to the extent that an attorney performs support staff duties, that time should be tracked.

How do I record my time on a specific case in defenderData Prime?

In order to record time on a specific case, the case will first need to be created in defenderData Prime. Once the case has been created, you can enter time in two ways. First, you can select the case and then create a new time entry on that case. Alternatively, from the “Home screen” you can select your timesheet, where you will be given the option of entering time on multiple cases. For more specific instructions, please see the Time Tracking User Guide available here:

How do I track time that could be allocated to multiple cases?

Though there is an option in defenderData Prime for this, in an ideal world, attorneys will divide their time between their cases. For example, if an attorney drives two hours to attend court hearings for two clients, the preference is to record an hour for each case as case-specific travel time. However, if an attorney handles over 10 cases in one court docket (such that it is impossible to determine how to divvy up the time between the cases), it is permissible to use the case-related time-tracking category. The main point here is that case-specific time tracking is always preferable to case-related, but the use of the case-related category is permissible if it is not feasible to use the case-specific category.

Should I track the time I spend tracking time?

Yes. Track such time with the time-tracking category “general work-related” and the task code “Administration.”

What is a time sufficiency survey? What role does it play in the study and who will be asked to participate?

A time sufficiency survey is a survey instrument distributed subsequent to the time-tracking portion of a workload study. The time tracking shows how much time defending attorneys currently spend on certain case tasks and their cases as a whole, and the time sufficiency survey simply asks whether they feel that time is sufficient. In other words, the time sufficiency survey adds context and meaning to results of the time tracking. All defending attorneys will be asked to complete the time sufficiency survey, regardless of their participation in the time tracking portion of the study.

What is a Delphi Panel? What role does it play in the study and who is on it?

A Delphi Panel is a panel of experts in a certain field who take part in iterative surveys and a focus group in order to reach consensus on some question pertaining to the field in which they are experts. For this workload study, the question is how much time defending attorneys should spend on their indigent defense cases and the experts are Idaho public defenders and private criminal defense attorneys with recognized expertise in this field. The results of the Delphi Panel will be collected by Boise State. This information will be analyzed along with the results of the time tracking study and the time sufficiency surveys to generate a report for the PDC. Participation in the Delphi Panel is anonymous and confidential.

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