American Council of Chief Defenders

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The American Council of Chief Defenders 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. Its mission is to:

  • Train and support chief defenders
  • Speak as a national voice for public defense
  • Promote best practices in the leadership, management, and administration of justice
  • Support development and reform of public defense systems

ACCD is a practice section of NLADA. It 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.

ACCD makes its voice heard to public defense systems, policymakers, and the public through advocacy, position papers, and resolutions. Its most recent publications include:

Upcoming Events

ACCD Virtual Chief Dialogue Hour

Please join us with your favorite beverage for a Chief Dialogue. Share, listen, blow off steam, de-stress, and see familiar faces as we put the summer behind us and look forward.

Register for the Dialogue Hour    

ACCD Leadership

Aisha McWeay 
Executive Director
Still She Rises


Stan German
Immediate Past Chair                                                    Executive Director
New York County Defender Services


Dean Beer
Chair, Systems Development and Reform (SDR) Committee
Chief Public Defender
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania





Please contact Defender Legal Services if you have any questions or are interested in becoming a member.


Free Research Consultation! SDR Committee’s Rapid Response Research Team

The Systems Development and Reform (SDR) Committee offers a free resource aimed at helping chief public defenders from small to mid-sized offices who lack in-house research and I.T. capacity. The SDR Committee’s Rapid Response Research Team is a core group of experienced researchers and technologists recruited from various organizations, including the Indigent Defense Research Association, who can provide consultation and offer suggestions about research and data projects that public defenders hope to undertake. Examples of areas of expertise among rapid response team members include defender program case management systems, data collection, data visualization, research, and evaluation. The assistance is a perfect jumping off point, for example, when deciding how to move forward with a research project idea, or to get expert views on case management system upgrades. 

To access the Rapid Response Research Team: 

Please complete this form briefly describing the issue for which you would like consultation.  NLADA staff will forward the request to the Rapid Response Research Team participants and see who has capacity and expertise to respond. Someone will get back to you as soon as possible.



This session will unpack what chief defenders can do about the intersection of race, poverty, and the Sixth Amendment! The Sixth Amendment outlines a set of safeguards for people who are accused of crimes and brought to court. These rights help ensure fair trials and accurate verdicts. However, many of the rights are not fully realized in today’s courts. This session will help defenders lead on advancing these rights and discuss how the intersection of race and poverty plays a role in shaping the realities in the courtroom

The meeting will happen Thursday, November 7 • 12:00pm - 2:00pm in Detroit, Michigan.

Click here to learn more