Strengthening the Work of Our Members
The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) has championed equal justice since our founding in 1911. At the heart of NLADA are our members – both individuals and organizations – who form a powerful and diverse network committed to quality legal representation for those who cannot afford counsel.
NLADA advances their work in civil legal aid and public defense in multiple ways, especially through:
- Conferences and Trainings
- Annual Conference
- Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
- Affinity Programs
NLADA provides the collective voice for the equal justice community. We build support for high quality legal aid and public defense among elected officials and other policymakers at all levels of government, as well as in the media and with the public. We take a leadership role to increase resources for providers, respond to requests from legislators and their staffs for testimony and technical information, mobilize allies and supporters to advance equal justice goals, and raise standards. Learn more.
Throughout the year, NLADA organizes high-quality training programs that help participants represent more effectively those who cannot afford counsel. Drawing on national experts, these sessions examine the latest developments in substantive law, management skills, trial techniques, service delivery innovations, and many other subjects vital to providers of public defense and civil legal services. NLADA members receive substantial discounts for these session, which typically offer Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit. Learn more.
NLADA's Annual Conference is the premier training event for the civil legal aid, public defense, and public interest law communities – and our members attend at significantly discounted rates. Past conferences have examined areas such as substantive law (both criminal defense and civil), defender management, managing change, developing strategic partnerships, legal skills, sentencing options, client issues, information technology, and ethical issues. Not only does the annual conference offer advocates substantive information and professional skills training, it also recognizes excellence among peers and provides unparalleled networking opportunities. Learn more.
One crucial way that NLADA shares our expertise is through technical assistance. The Defender Legal Services team, for example, works closely with programs to improve advocacy in criminal justice reform and provides guidance on matters such as increasing funding, optimizing human resources, and building capacity to collect and use data. Civil Legal Services offers advice on Legal Services Corporation (LSC) regulations and on how programs can win federal funding from non-LSC programs in areas such as health care, housing, and veterans services.
NLADA offers a wide range of publications, including guides to using data and risk assessments, evaluation reports, amicus curiae briefs, training materials, management and administration resources, and analyses of Legal Services Corporation regulations. Members enjoy significant discounts when materials require payments. Both Civil and Defender Legal Services also send members regular updates on relevant issues, including newsletters highlighting key developments.
NLADA members can become part of one or more than a dozen sections that focus on specialized topics such as court debt or sentencing and mitigation. Section membership is open to individual members of NLADA as well as those who work at program members. Learn More.
Membership in NLADA opens access to specialized benefits related to business operations. Through the NLADA Insurance Program, for example, member offices can obtain comprehensive professional liability coverage at highly competitive rates. This program is unique in the marketplace as the only member-controlled insurance program serving the public defense and civil legal aid communities and includes endorsements covering management errors and omissions, employment practices liability, punitive damages, pro bono programs, and the outside practice of law. Other affinity benefits include access to the Mutual of America pension program and reduced rates on Lexis/Nexis. See the Affinity Programs document for more information.