Information Exchange

Public defense leaders throughout America know that being the person in charge of a public defense system is a very lonely position. Here you will find a national network of leaders from all aspects and types of indigent defense systems, with whom you can share information about struggles and successes, learn what works and what should be discarded, exchange ideas and materials and resources, and among whom you will find the people who walk in your shoes daily.

NLADA Forum – When you Enter the NLADA Forum, you will find a national neighborhood of many Groups. You choose the Groups you wish to join, and each Group has a private place to discuss, share information, and ask questions at their leisure about common interests and concerns. Whether you are a board member, a Chief Public Defender, a trainer, a social worker, an investigator, a community organizer, a trial lawyer supervisor – whatever your role in public defense leadership, there is a Group for you; or start your own Group today!

NLADA Library – No matter what resource you are seeking, we think you will find it here – standards, implementation plans, models, theories, case studies, budget tools, communication tools, system evaluation reports, training materials, human resource management, and more – including videos, webcasts, podcasts, and written documents. If you need something, then Search the Library. If you have something that others could use, then Share a Document. And while this is a Public Library, if you wish to share an item only among the members of your Forum Group, you can do that too.

Ask a Question – We are here to help. If you are in a hurry, can’t find what you need elsewhere, or simply don’t know who to ask, then Ask a Question of NDLI Staff.

Zealous high-quality representation of each client is your core mission, your constitutional duty, and your personal desire. The Information Exchange will help you with leadership & management, so that they are not a distraction from and instead become the means to ensuring effective client-centered representation for all.

MANAGING YOUR OFFICE
AND SYSTEM

You chose the law or a criminal justice profession.  Yet indigent defense leadership involves, on a daily basis, everything you never learned because you do not have an MBA or a graduate degree in public administration.  We often think of this as the inside role or managerial dimension of public defense leadership, and it involves finance, budgets, strategic planning, human resource management, physical plant management, information technology.  This column provides up-to-date tools to help you lead inside of your organization.

THIS LINE WILL NOT DISPLAY ON THE WEBSITE. IT IS HIDDEN FROM VIEW. DO NOT DELETE OR ENTER ANY TEXT BELOW THIS LINE. THERE IS PHP CODE BELOW THAT MAKES THIS FUNCTION PROPERLY.

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the National Juvenile Defender Center are gathering information about the current state of case management and/or tracking systems being used by public defense agencies and systems around the country to capture information on both juvenile and adult clients.

The results of this survey will be used to assist the defense community in securing resources and support for infrastructure and development of...

Law school may teach us to "think like a lawyer," but it seldom prepares an attorney to defend a living breathing client who is charged with a specific criminal act where the prosecution will take place in a specific jurisdiction that has its own unique policies and procedures.  Instead, lawyers learn how to actually represent clients when they take their first job.  They get this practical education either through trial by fire (the worst possible way for...

ADVANCING CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The immediate outcomes and life-long consequences for clients of public defense systems and their families are greatly affected by forces outside of the courtroom and extrinsic to a given case.  Public defense leaders today recognize their crucial role in moving the American justice system forward, toward a truly just, equal, and fair court system where socio-economics, race, gender, religion, language, culture, and geography do not wrongly tip the scales.  The criminal justice dimension, or the outside role of leadership, requires us to step out of our traditional adversarial positions and use our skills as policy-makers.  This column highlights the newest actions and articles about claiming a seat at the criminal justice table, working collaboratively with other justice stakeholders, and changing the culture of our American justice system.

THIS LINE WILL NOT DISPLAY ON THE WEBSITE. IT IS HIDDEN FROM VIEW. DO NOT DELETE OR ENTER ANY TEXT BELOW THIS LINE. THERE IS PHP CODE BELOW THAT MAKES THIS FUNCTION PROPERLY.

Commonly referred to as Byrne/JAG grants, the official name is the "Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program."  The program is administered by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and is described by BJA as "the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions."

Short History

The Byrne/JAG program of today is a blend of the previous Byrne Grant program and the...

The phrase “evidence-based practices” (EBP) is the catch-phrase of the day throughout our criminal justice systems.  But what exactly are these practices, how do they affect our clients, and what do we as defense attorneys need to know and do about them? 

The paper Evidence-Based Practices and Criminal Defense: Opportunities, Challenges, and Practical Considerations is a...

COMMUNICATING, NEGOTIATING, NETWORKING

Excellent public defense leadership demands the talent & training of many professions: part friend, part family; part social worker, psychologist, scientist, investigator; writer, teacher, coach, community organizer; with amazing organizational skills and no need for sleep!  In this column, we focus on the art, science, and skills that together make up the political dimension of leadership in indigent defense.

THIS LINE WILL NOT DISPLAY ON THE WEBSITE. IT IS HIDDEN FROM VIEW. DO NOT DELETE OR ENTER ANY TEXT BELOW THIS LINE. THERE IS PHP CODE BELOW THAT MAKES THIS FUNCTION PROPERLY.

The American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) are designing and implementing a pilot Public Defender Fellowship Program (PDFP) aimed at advancing best practices in indigent defense representation.  The project is funded by the United States Department of Justice and is implemented under the auspices of its Bureau of Justice Assistance. 

...

Public defense systems are constantly setting new goals, trying to implement new and better ways of representing clients, devising community education programs, and working to convince budgeting bodies and policy-makers of the importance of effective representation for the poor in our criminal justice systems.  We all need a simple plan that we can easily follow to achieve these goals.  We are public defenders, so we want to keep our eye on providing the best...