Continuing to Work for Justice

As SCLAID moves into its second century as the American Bar Association's voice for civil legal aid and public defense attorneys, the committee is actively engaged in a wide range of activities to advance the ABA's access-to-justice mission. While the below items illustrate some key examples of SCLAID’s current initiatives, to learn more about all that SCLAID does to promote access to justice, please visit our website at the link below.

Visit - SCLAID Website

COVID-19 Resources

SCLAID has launched a web page that consolidates resources from across the country to assist the access to justice community in addressing the many challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Explore - COVID-19 Resources

Public Defender Workload Studies

SCLAID has, since 2014, completed and published studies of public defender workloads in the states of Missouri, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Colorado. These studies set jurisdiction-specific workload standards for public defenders. SCLAID is currently working on studies in Indiana, Oregon and New Mexico.

Explore - Public Defender Workload Studies

Civil Legal Aid Funding

SCLAID, through its Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives, prepares the ABArray Legal Aid Funding Report, an online data array of all legal aid funding sources and amounts nationwide, tracked by SCLAID since 2003. This Report is a critical resource for states when undertaking legislative funding campaigns, and Center staff provides regular updates to the legal aid community on fundraising activities going on nationwide.

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Exemplary Public Defender Programs

SCLAID seeks to recognize exemplary programs in public defense and help other jurisdictions to adopt similar programs. In 2018, ABA SCLAID published the Exemplary Defense Report, which highlighted groundbreaking efforts to train court-appointed counsel in Harris County Texas, a specialized unit to expand pretrial release in New York City and a data-driven, holistic court-appointed counsel program in Los Angeles.

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National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs

SCLAID, through its Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives, annually organizes the National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commissions Chairs in conjunction with the ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference. This meeting is the preeminent national gathering of chairs, volunteers, and staff from ATJ Commissions around the country to learn and interact during workshops and presentations on topics of particular interest to this community.

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Public Defense Policies and Guidelines

SCLAID has developed critical policies on public defense passed by ABA House of Delegates, including the ABA 10 Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System and the 8 Guidelines of Public Defense Related to Excessive Workloads. SCLAID also staffs the Presidential Working Group on Building Public Trust in the American Justice System, which drafted the 10 Guidelines on Court Fines and Fees, adopted by the House of Delegates in August 2018.

View - Defense Policies and Guidelines