NLADA’s Annual Conference Returns with an In-person Convening October 26-29, 2022 to Reunite Equal Justice Leaders in Arlington, VA

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Release Date: 
Monday, October 24, 2022



NLADA’s Annual Conference Returns with an In-person Convening October 26-29, 2022 to Reunite Equal Justice Leaders in Arlington, VA

Opening Plenary to Feature Rachel Rossi, Director of the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice

Arlington, VA – The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) will hold its 2022 Annual Conference Wednesday, October 26 to Saturday, October 29, in Arlington, VA, to be attended by more than 700 equal justice leaders from around the country at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  

"In this moment, we are experiencing a sea of change in legal aid and racial justice, and we want to use our Annual Conference as momentum to catapult us into a new year of legal aid advocacy, and ultimately, change," said NLADA President and CEO April Frazier Camara who celebrates one year at NLADA's helm.  

"Our conference this year aims to challenge our membership to think and act in new ways on both the local and national level. Our diverse line up of presenters and empowering sessions will help us achieve this goal. We are indeed, speaking truth to power." 

Entitled, “Speaking Truth to Power 2022: A New Day in a New Way,” this year’s annual conference will explore critical issues impacting the future of the delivery of legal services for those who cannot afford counsel. 

The opening plenary kicks off on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with Rachel Rossi, director of the Department of Justice’s Office for Access to Justice. Director Rossi has championed access to justice for both the civil and public defense community in exploring new ways the DOJ can support expansion of these services and protect constitutional rights as we approach the upcoming 60th anniversary of Gideon v Wainwright, the landmark case establishing a constitutional right to counsel in criminal proceedings.

Additional featured speakers include Heather Pinckney, director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and Jeffery Robinson, founder & CEO of The Who We Are Project, and former ACLU deputy legal director and the director of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality. Scores of workshops are featured including: “Closing the Immigrant Gap in Public Benefits,” “Moving Beyond the Legal System Through Community Lawyers,” “Coalition Building and Client-Driven Advocacy,” and “A New Era of Abolition Lawyers: the Final Burial of the 13th Amendment and Mass Incarceration.”  

NLADA will also recognize honorees including a media member, legal aid client, private attorney, and civil legal aid attorneys, including Shannon Heffernan, Patricia Vining, Timothy Moran, Paul Furrh, and Lilian M. Moy, respectively.

In addition to the in-person conference, NLADA will hold a virtual session to follow Tuesday, December 6 through Wednesday, December 7. Registration is still open for the virtual convening. For the full schedule, visit 

The opening plenary and awards ceremony are open to the media, as are most sessions and workshops. To learn more about the Annual Conference, contact Rabiah A. Burks at [email protected].  


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.