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C. Lyons Fellowship Program
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The C. Lyons Fellowship Program

Supporting emerging leaders in the equal justice community


"I believe the greatest challenge for the equal justice community is how well we empower ourselves, and how well we act upon that power."
–Clinton Lyons


About the C. Lyons Fellowship Program

For 22 years (1983 – 2005), Clinton Lyons served as the president and CEO of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. He dedicated his time and energy without reserve to the cause of equal justice for all. On July 1, 2005, Lyons stepped down as president and CEO to pursue other challenges within the equal justice community. To honor the hard work and significant achievements of this great leader, the board of directors of NLADA has embarked on the creation of The C. Lyons Fellowship Program, a board-advised fund that will support one Fellow per year selected from among program members of NLADA, to work on special projects that are of national interest or importance to NLADA. The fund will support the costs of their participation at the national level, resident in Washington, DC, during the year in which they are designated to serve as Lyons Fellows.

The C. Lyons Fellowship Program is rooted in the belief that all people deserve legal counsel in situations where individual or civil rights are being violated, and representation in a court of law when charged with a criminal offense, regardless of one’s ability to pay for an attorney.


The Goal of the C. Lyons Fellowship Program

Given reduced funding sources, declining IOLTA funding and the rising burden of law school loans, securing a stable, perpetual base of support for emerging leaders in the equal justice community is critical.The Fellowship Program will support outstanding individuals in the areas of civil and defender legal services and seeks to identify and nurture new leaders at the state and national levels. The priorities of the Program include:

  • Increasing the visibility for the need for civil and defender legal service programs through national advocacy and legislative involvement.
  • The development and promotion of emerging leaders in the equal justice community.
  • The improvement of civil legal aid delivery mechanisms to meet a growing demand for services.
  • The advancement of indigent defense reform efforts.


The C. Lyons Fellowship Program Selection Process

The board of NLADA or a board-selected committee shall review all applications and determine selection of one Fellow, alternating each year between the civil and defender communities. Selection criteria and length of the Fellowship has not yet been determined, except that each selected Fellow must demonstrate the following:

  1. A demonstrated commitment to the delivery of legal services to the poor.
  2. A clearly defined project or interest that is national in scope and that would be mutually beneficial to NLADA and the program from which the Fellow represents
  3. A desire to learn about and explore national advocacy and public policy issues

The Fellowship Program will support one Fellow per year selected from among program members of NLADA, to work on special projects that are of national interest or importance to NLADA.


How you can support

By making a contribution to the C. Lyons Fellowship Program, you help us make strides to ensure the sustainability of leadership development in the equal justice community. Your support is vital to growing and advancing the goals of the Program.

Please send donations to:
C. Lyons Fellowship Program
National Legal Aid & Defender Association
1140 Connecticut Ave., NW Ste. 900
Washington, DC 20036

Please write "C. Lyons Fellowship Program" on the memo line of your check.

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association is a 501(c)(3) organization.Your contribution is tax-deductible to the fullest extent as allowed by law.


For more information, please contact Deborah Dubois, Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Development, at 202-452-0620 ext. 223 or at d.dubois@nlada.org.