April Frazier Camara Selected as NLADA's New President

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Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 14, 2021

April Frazier Camara Chosen as Next President of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)


September 14, 2021 (Washington, DC) – The Board of Directors of the Na1onal Legal Aid & Defender Associa1on (NLADA) is pleased to announce that April Frazier Camara, Esq., will become NLADA President & CEO on November 1, 2021.

April has been a champion for equal jus1ce for two decades. A graduate of Howard School of Law, she worked as a public defender in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee and at the Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia before joining NLADA.  She has been a part of the NLADA leadership team for the past five years, currently serving as Vice President for Strategic Alliances & Innovation and formerly as Chief of Lifelong Learning.

After conducting an extensive national search through the nationally known firm Isaacson, Miller, the Board is delighted that its Succession Committee chose one of NLADA's current leaders to be the next President & CEO.

April will succeed current President & CEO Jo-Ann Wallace, who will step down on October 29, 2021 to become President of NLADA’s business partner, the NLADA Insurance Program (known as Service Corporation).

“April’s leadership in the areas of equity and social justice, her decades of work in the public and nonprofit sectors, as well as her dedication and knowledge of NLADA’s mission, structure and member needs make her uniquely qualified to lead NLADA,” said Jo-Ann Wallace. “April is the ideal person to further grow the organization’s impact and lead the evolution of its efforts to achieve equal justice.”

April Frazier Camara is a visionary leader who understands how to develop programs and policy simultaneously to drive change. She is a co-founder of NLADA’s newest section, the Black Public Defender Association (BPDA), which aims to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in public defense and promote racial equity in criminal legal systems. As the 2020 Chair of the American Bar Association’s influential Criminal Justice Section, April led a diverse group of stakeholders (prosecutors, defenders, judges and academics) to build consensus and adopt important ABA policy on race equity and prosecution, raising the age for juvenile prosecutions, reparations, abolition of private prisons, and other complex criminal legal issues.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, NLADA embraced the renewed focus on racial equity to advance even bolder, more impactful approaches to fostering systems, institutions and policies that promote racial equity. In 2020, the NLADA Board of Directors formed a Racial Justice Task Force to build on the 2018 Racial Justice Action Plan and expand support for members’ desire to leverage this time of racial reckoning to lead transformational change.

April has become nationally known for her courageous leadership in advancing racial equity. In addition, she knows the far-reaching impact that this community of advocates on the frontlines can have in driving systems, institutions and policies to embrace racial equity and lasting change. She understands the “magic” that happens when the NLADA community of civil, defender and client advocates comes together with its broad reaching public and private partners. She is the right leader to have at the helm as NLADA works to implement the Racial Justice Task Force recommendations and support its community of advocates in playing pivotal roles to propel the nation closer to fulfilling the promise of equal justice for all.

The Board of Directors is pleased to welcome April Frazier Camara, Esq. as NLADA President & CEO on November 1, 2021.


The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels, playing a leadership role in the creation of public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for civil legal aid and public defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.