DOJ Official, Chief Public Defenders, Corporate Counsel to speak at NLADA's Gideon@60 Convening at the National Press Club

You are here

Release Date: 
Friday, March 10, 2023

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2023) – The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) will host a national convening of public defenders, civil legal aid providers, community advocates, and government and private sector representatives commemorating the 60th anniversary of the landmark decision Gideon v. Wainwright.   

Event: Gideon@60 

When: 3:30–5:30 P.M. EDT, March 16, 2023  

Where: The National Press Club 

529 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20045 
It will also be streamed live at and  

The landmark decision Gideon v. Wainwright affirmed the right to counsel for people accused of crimes who cannot afford to pay for an attorney. That case not only represented a generational step for our country towards meeting its promise of equal justice, it is also the foundation of our modern public defender systems.  

This event will feature two conversations between public defenders, community advocates, and representatives from the government and the private sector, followed by a networking reception: 

3:30–3:40 P.M. – Opening Remarks from April Frazier Camara, President & CEO, National Legal Aid & Defender Association; Lisa Monet Wayne, Executive Director, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and Keeda Haynes, Board of Directors, National Association for Public Defense. 

3:40–4:20 P.M. – The Unmet Promise of the Right to Counsel 

This panel will outline the state of public defense in America, highlighting the significant challenges impacting many systems and the consequences of these challenges while also demonstrating the positive outcomes that result when public defenders have the necessary resources and system-level support. 

  • Regina Kelly, Client Services Coordinator, Lone Star Legal Aid 

  • Stan Germán, Executive Director, New York County Defender Services 

  • Heather Pinckney, Director, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia 

Remarks from Rachel Rossi, Director, Office for Access to Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, and a video message from U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) 

4:50–5:30 P.M. – Public Defenders, Partners, and Policy Change 

Public defenders with strong community relationships and stakeholder partnerships are uniquely positioned to identify the existence and consequences of systemic injustices in the provision of the right to counsel, and in the criminal legal system more broadly, and to play a central role in developing and advocating for equitable solutions. This panel will highlight the perspectives of partner stakeholders about the importance of the right to counsel and strong public defender systems and discuss successful examples of public defenders leveraging these partnerships to effect policy change. 

  • James Chosy, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel, U.S. Bancorp 

  • Ronald Simpson-Bey, Executive Vice President, JustLeadershipUSA 

  • Bhavan K. Sodhi,  Chief Program Officer, Innocence Project 

  • Kelli Thompson, Wisconsin State Public Defender  

The convening is supported by Arnold Ventures.  

If you are interested in attending the event, please email Rabiah Burks at [email protected] to register.  




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.