Civil & Client Policy Groups, Defender Council, Committees

You are here

NLADA draws on the expertise of three bodies -- the Civil Policy Group, the Client Policy Group, and the Defender Council – to help develop programs and policies that support our members. Created by the NLADA bylaws for the purpose of making policy recommendations to the board of directors in area of expertise and concern and meeting three times per year, each group is composed of representatives elected by their peers.

Civil Policy Group

The Civil Policy Group's primary objective is to develop programs and policies that support NLADA members. Its main duties include:

  • initiating policy and programs, subject to board approval, relating to the provision of civil legal services
  • reviewing all matters of interest to legal services organizations
  • procuring a budget
  • determining the Civil Division's program
  • issuing policy statements
  • participating as Amicus Curiae on civil legal services related issues in the name of NLADA
  • engaging in appropriate activities in support of legal services organizations

Civil Policy Group members are generally elected on a regional basis, and include management, staff and clients from legal aid programs nationwide. Persons who are elected or appointed to the Civil Policy Group must maintain current individual membership in the Association throughout their terms on the Civil Policy Group.

Civil Policy Group members can obtain documents here.

Members

  • Anthony L. Young, Tucson, AZ, Chair
  • Silvia Argueta Los Angeles, CA
  • Eric Avildsen, Burlington, VT
  • Callie Dendrinos, Cleveland, OH
  • Robert F Gillett, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Daniel Glazier, St. Louis, MO
  • Catherine Harris, Brookline, MA
  • Sergio Jimenez, Brooklyn, NY
  • Sue Lau, Santa Ana, CA
  • Theron McNeil, Las Vegas, NV
  • Marcy Muller, Dalton, GA
  • Ben Obregon, Madison, WI
  • Alison Paul, Helena, MT
  • Rodolfo Sanchez, Weslaco, TX
  • Shannon Woods, Albany, NY

Civil Policy Group Committees 

These committees advance the objectives and help fulfill the duties of the Civil Policy Group, especially by making recommendations to the group on specific areas.

  • Executive Committee
    The Executive Committee consists of the chair and vice chair of the Civil Policy Group and the chairs of the standing committees. On issues of a time-sensitive nature between meetings, the Executive Committee is charged with the authority to act on behalf of the entire Policy Group between meetings.
  • Leadership and Diversity Committee
    This committee makes recommendations on leadership and diversity issues, such as supporting and developing minority leadership in legal services programs, developing new leadership in legal services programs, involving non-directors in legal services community leadership roles and assuring that diverse staff are recruited and retained throughout the legal services community. Projects include developing a series of training events that help leaders address issues currently facing legal services programs, including issues that arise as programs undergo internal changes.
  • Program Enhancement Committee
    The Program Enhancement Committee makes recommendations on a wide array of issues designed to enhance and improve the quality of legal aid delivery at the advocate, program, state, and national levels.
  • Recruitment and Retention Committee
    The Recruitment and Retention Committee makes recommendations regarding loan repayment assistance programs and other policies designed to improve the ability of legal aid programs to recruit and retain diverse, high-quality staff. 
  • Regulations and Restrictions Committee
    The Regulations and Restrictions Committee makes recommendations on policy and regulatory issues related to the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). It has developed and presented recommendations to the LSC regarding policies such as LSC's Case Service Reporting system and has analyzed the LSC Property Acquisition and Management Manual, as well as proposed changes in various LSC regulations.
  • Resources Committee
    This committee makes recommendations on funding and funding-related policy and regulatory issues affecting civil legal services to the poor. The Resources Committee develops and presents funding requests to the LSC board and Congress for LSC appropriations, and it develops policy recommendations to guide LSC in implementing its funding priorities. The committee also develops policy recommendations relating to non-LSC federal sources of funding, IOLTA resources, and other major sources of support for civil legal aid.

Civil Sections

NLADA sections comprise people within a specialized legal area whose common interest is to improve the quality of services rendered to their clients, develop the specialized skills of the group, enhance communications and information sharing, and strengthen advocacy and client communities. Civil sections include:

  • Farmworker Law
    The Farmworkers Law Section supports the efforts of migrant farmworker advocates and legal services programs serving seasonal farmworkers. It seeks to increase awareness of legal problems and the rights of migrant and seasonal farmworkers and to advance the cause of justice for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.  Working closely with the Farmworker Project Group, the section provides technical assistance to migrant farmworker advocates and legal services programs, meets at the NLADA Annual Conference, and sponsors a biennial training conference for migrant advocates from across the country.
  • Latino Advocates
    The Latino Advocates Section focuses on national legal and regulatory issues that affect low-income Latinos, including the intersection of race, ethnicity, and poverty. It also addresses substantive law issues of critical importance to Latino communities, such as immigration, education, and labor; it also offers support to Latino staff through networking, peer mentoring, training, and other appropriate mechanisms.
  • Native American Law
    The Native American Section focuses on the unique cultural problems affecting the delivery of legal services to Native American Indians. The section, working closely with the National Association of Indian Legal Services (NAILS), develops systems to provide effective civil and criminal representation to Native Americans living on and off reservations. The section provides technical assistance to offices that deliver legal services to Native Americans.
  • Technology
    The Technology Section aims to serve the national legal services community on both the civil and defender sides and the established network of programs by providing leadership and knowledge regarding the use of technology to foster provision of quality legal services. It provides a forum within NLADA for development of a critical perspective regarding technology issues and supports efforts to bridge the "digital divide" and ensure that our client community is not further marginalized by lack of access to technology. The section also provides a voice to Congress and the Legal Services Corporation regarding technology issues and addresses issues of training, funding, and support for technology within NLADA, and within the legal services community.

Client Policy Group 

The Client Policy Group provides a forum for client inclusiveness and involvement in NLADA.  The Client Policy Group is composed of:

  • One member is a client representative on the Civil Policy Group and is elected by the Civil Policy Group.
  • One member is a client individual member of NLADA and is elected by the client individual members.
  • One member is a client representative on the Defender Policy Group and is elected by the Defender Policy Group.
  • One member is a client individual member of NLADA and is elected by the Defender Policy Group.
  • One member is a chief staff officer or staff representative on the Civil Policy Group and is elected by the Civil Policy Group.
  • One member is a director or staff representative on the Defender Policy Group and is elected by the Defender Policy Group.
  • One member is appointed by the chairperson of the Client Policy Group, in consultation with staff and the Leadership Development Committee, to meet the diversity goals of NLADA.

Client Policy Group members can obtain documents here.

Members

  • Harry Johnson, Indianapolis, IN, Chair
  • Regina Kelly, Hearne, TX, Vice-Chair
  • Ofelia Zapata, Austin, TX, Secretary
  • Daryl Atkinson, Durham, NC
  • Betsy Biben, Washington, DC
  • Latryna Carlton, Waverly, FL
  • Myrnairis Cepeda, Roxbury, MA
  • Sue Lau, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Catherine Harris, Brookline, MA
  • Theron McNeil, Las Vegas, NV
  • Marcy Muller, Dalton, GA
  • Rosita Stanley, Macon, GA

Client Committees 

The purpose of the NLADA Client Section is to promote the mission of NLADA by providing a forum for clients of legal aid and public defense programs to voice their interests and concerns as members of NLADA, as program board members, as customers of legal services, and as advocates for themselves.

  • Communications Committee
    The Communications Committee addresses issues of communication among and with the client membership, the policy group, and NLADA.  One of the committee's first recommendations to the policy group was the creation of a newsletter to be published jointly with the National Association of Client Advocates (NOCA). The Client Update is published three times per year. To view the current and past issues of the Client Update, please go to the Client Resource Center.
  • Training Committee
    The Training Committee addresses the training opportunities and needs of the client membership.  NLADA offers training for clients and client advocates at the Annual Conference, and these opportunities are planned by a design committee that includes members of the Training Committee.
  • Membership Committee
    The Membership Committee was established because NLADA members expressed interest in establishing a client section. The committee was instrumental in achieving this objective, and in March 2001 the NLADA board approved the creation of the Client Section. The committee now works to promote membership in the section and in NLADA. 

Client Section

This section promotes the mission of NLADA by providing a forum for clients of legal aid and public defense programs to voice their interests and concerns as NLADA members, as customers of legal assistance, and as advocates for themselves. Membership is open to all NLADA members, with a special focus on NLADA client members.

Defender Council

The Defender Council advises the Board of Directors regarding policy and programs relating to the provision of defender legal services. It reviews matters of interest to defender organizations, recommends policy statements and public positions to the Board of Directors, as well as reviewing requests for participation in amicus curiae on defender related issues in the name of NLADA. Those elected or appointed to the Defender Council must maintain current individual NLADA membership throughout their terms on the council.

Defender Council members can obtain documents here.

Members

  • Steve Lipson, Ventura, CA, Chair
  • T. Patton Adams, Columbia, SC, Vice Chair
  • Nancy T.Bennett, Boston, MA
  • James D.Bethke, Austin, TX
  • Avis Buchanan, Washington, DC
  • Derwyn D.Bunton, New Orleans, LA
  • Anne Daly, Seattle, WA
  • Shawna Geiger, Denver, CO
  • Regina Kelly, Hearne, TX
  • Thomas K. Maher, Durham, NC
  • Michael J. Pelletier, Chicago, IL
  • Lisa Schreibersdorf, Brooklyn, NY
  • Michael Tobin, Madison, WI

Defender Council Committees

These committees advance the objectives and help fulfill the duties of the Defender Policy Group, especially by making recommendations to the group on specific areas.      

Executive Committee
The Executive Committee serves as a steering committee for the Defender Council coordinating and providing oversight of NLADA’s defender work and sections and represents the Defender Council in between meetings.

Training & Leadership Development
The Training & Leadership Development Committee identifies and addresses training and leadership development needs in the defender community, including identifying and recruiting a broad array of effective and diverse trainers.

Standards & Best Practices 
The Standards & Best Practices Committee identifies and develops indigent defense related standards, guidelines, opinions and best practices to ensure that indigent clients in the criminal justice system receive high quality legal representation.

Amicus
The Amicus Committee writes or recruit writers to compose appellate briefs that promote law reform on indigent defense and related legal matters.

Defender Sections

Defender sections provide members with an opportunity to focus on specialized skills and topics, enhance communication and information sharing among occupational and other affinity groups, and issue policy statements and take public positions on relevant issues on behalf of the section. Defender sections include:

American Council of Chief Defenders

The American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD) is a national community of public defense leaders dedicated to securing a fair justice system and ensuring high quality legal representation for people facing loss of life, freedom, or family.  A practice section of NLADA, ACCD draws from NLADA’s network of defenders to bring together chief and deputy chiefs of diverse indigent defense programs,  including public defender offices, assigned counsel systems, and contract systems. ACCD members collaborate through a listserv and annual conferences.  Learn more about ACCD.

Appellate

The Appellate Section provides a forum for attorneys who handle criminal appeals to keep up to date on legal developments and obtain case-related assistance. 

Death Penalty Litigation Section

The Death Penalty Litigation Section provides a forum for mitigation specialists, defense investigators, and defense attorneys who handle capital cases to keep up–to-date on legal developments and obtain case-related assistance.  Each year the section sponsors Life in the Balance, a nationally renowned capital defense training program that gathers the leading practitioners and experts from across the country. Section members regularly teach at Life in the Balance and other training programs for the death penalty defense community.

National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists

The National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialists (NASAMS) is the only national organization devoted to the educational and professional development of mitigation specialists and sentencing advocates. NASAMS offers national and regional trainings, individual consultation, an internet forum and listserv, and other member services designed to support and enhance an effective mitigation practice.  Learn more about NASAMS

National Alliance of Indigent Defense Educators 

The National Alliance of Indigent Defense Educators (NAIDE) brings together indigent defense training directors and professionals to create premier programs in continuing legal education. NAIDE members share the latest legal developments, adult learning techniques, and breakthroughs in web-based and other distance-learning technologies through a listserv and Train-the-Trainers sessions at NLADA conferences.  NAIDE also advises other NLADA sections, such as the American Council of Chief Defenders, on best practices in defender training. Learn more about NAIDE.