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NLADA - 1140 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 900 -  Washington, DC 2003 - ph. 202-452-0620


For Immediate Release
Stacy Mayuga
(202) 452-0620, ext. 230
“Jo-Ann Wallace Assumes Position Effective July 1”

WASHINGTON, DC, April 13, 2005 — The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jo-Ann Wallace as the association’s new president and chief executive officer, effective July 1. Wallace currently serves as NLADA senior vice president for programs. She replaces President and CEO Clint Lyons following his 23-year tenure. Lyons will transition to the NLADA Insurance Program as chairman and CEO, a position that he currently fills in a dual capacity.

“NLADA is extremely pleased that Jo-Ann Wallace has agreed to accept the position of president and CEO,” stated Harrison D. McIver, III, NLADA board of directors chairperson. “Her passion and commitment are natural extensions of her life’s work in the equal justice community. Ms. Wallace’s motivation, exceptional professional experience, integrity and vision will no doubt solidify NLADA’s charge as the leader in the fight for equal justice. The board is confident in Ms. Wallace’s ability to navigate the waters of challenging times and looks forward to a productive partnership.”

Wallace has devoted her career to advocacy for individuals with limited means and has a proven track record as a leader in building equal justice institutions and initiatives. As NLADA vice president for programs, Wallace is recognized for her vast accomplishments in launching innovative initiatives. She expanded the civil and defender divisions, forged new partnerships with a variety of private and public sector organizations, and strengthened coalitions with existing partners. She increased the association’s ability to train and support current and emerging leaders. Her passion and commitment to justice for low-income people is crystallized in a number of successes: the founding of the American Council of Chief Defenders; the establishment of the National Defender Leadership Institute and the Equal Justice Leadership Initiative for legal aid advocates; and the launch of technical assistance initiatives that have led to expanded capacities in civil legal aid programs and the reformation of indigent defense systems in states such as Louisiana and Montana. The impact of her tireless efforts is magnified by the depth of her commitment to the mission of NLADA and by the stream of innovative strategies that keep multiple stakeholders united under a single banner of justice for all.

Prior to joining NLADA, Wallace worked at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) for 14 years. In her six years as PDS director, Wallace transformed the agency by implementing a plan that resulted in a 150 percent increase in its operating budget and widely expanded client services. Under her leadership PDS doubled in size to a staff of approximately 200 and moved to a new building with state of the art technology and resources.

"I am extraordinarily honored and humbled to be selected to serve in this position," said Wallace. "My commitment to equal justice is grounded in the faces and stories of the people I have served in the low-income community. My vision of a national unity predicated on the fundamental right to justice for people of all races and backgrounds, feeds my motivation to work zealously for those with limited means. I am looking forward to building upon the noble history of NLADA by strengthening alliances and forging new partnerships to revitalize the movement for justice in our courtrooms and better life outcomes for millions of people in our communities. Along with new and current partners in Congress, the Legal Services Corporation, the American Bar Association, other bar leaders, the dedicated staff of NLADA and its members, I look forward to advancing the unifying cause of justice for all."

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The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is the oldest and largest national, nonprofit membership organization devoting all of its resources to advocating equal access to justice for all people. NLADA champions effective legal assistance for people who cannot afford counsel, serves as a collective voice for both civil legal services and public defense services throughout the nation and provides a wide range of services and benefits to its individual and organizational members.