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Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense

Events & CLE

Current Programs:

Digital Divides and Greening Legal Deserts: Lessons from the Four Corners States
June 6, 2024, 1:00 PM EDT
Virtual Event
1.5 MCLE hrs have been requested
Register here>>>

The use of technology is essential to narrowing the justice gap, particularly in rural areas where attorneys are few and far between. This program focuses on initiatives taken and lessons learned in the “Four Corners” states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) to bridge justice gaps using  technology. Attendees will learn from our panel of experts about how their experiences can be applied to better address issues created by digital divides and legal deserts.

ABA Forum on Building Access to Justice For All
Rancho Mirage, CA
October 23-25, 2024
Registration will open soon!
Check here for more information!

We are excited to announce that our 2nd annual ABA Forum on Building Access to Justice for All will take place on October 23rd – 25th at The Westin Rancho Mirage Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, California. By combining the annual IOLTA Workshops, the National Lawyer Referral Workshop, and the National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs (ATJ Chairs Meeting), the 2024 Forum will provide unique educational training, networking opportunities, and support to access to justice commissions, IOLTA programs, lawyer referral programs, and others working to increase access to the civil justice system.

Past Programs:

Public Defense Summit 2024: Exploring Practical Implications of the Revised ABA Public Defense Principles and the National Public Defense Workload Study
April 4-5, 2024
Virtual Conference
9 total MCLE credit hours available (including 1.5 hours of Ethics).
Learn More>>>

 2024 ABA Public Defense Summit was held on April 4-5, 2024, sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense.
The past year has seen two important developments in public defense standards. In August 2023, the ABA enacted the Revised Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery System, thereby updating its core public defense standards for the needs of modern defense counsel and their clients. The following month saw the release of National Public Defense Workload Study, which employed empirical data and the consensus view of public defense experts to shed new light on the workload crisis facing defenders nationwide.
This program will explore how facets of these new developments will shape public defender advocacy and policy in years to come. Ethics credit will be included.

Legal Aid in the Ether - Ethical Considerations for Remote Practice by Legal Aid Offices - Webinar
March 27, 2024, 1:00 PM EDT, 1.5 hrs of MCLE Ethics and Professional Responsibility Credit 
View On Demand>>>

Using interactive scenarios, this webinar addresses legal ethics considerations for legal aid and pro bono lawyers engaged in remote legal practice, focusing on issues unique to legal aid and pro bono practitioners, such as how to meet the ethical obligation of communication with remote or transient clients. The session also explores how the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid provide guidance to managers of attorneys practicing remotely.

ABA Conference on Language, Justice, and Technology
March 1 - 2, 2024
Seattle University School of Law, Seattle, WA
In-person and Online
Learn More>>>

The ABA Conference on Language, Justice, and Technology - a pivotal event at the intersection of language access, cross-cultural communication, technology, and access to justice, was held on March 1 – 2, 2024 at Seattle University School of Law in Seattle, Washington. A virtual option was available for those unable to attend in person.

Representing Clients with Diminished Capacity: Ethical Obligations and Best Practices
CLE Webinar
January 18, 2024
View On Demand>>>

This webinar helped legal aid and pro bono lawyers better understand how to ethically and effectively represent vulnerable clients having diminished capacity through use of discussion scenarios based on real-world situations and focused on Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The scenarios also examined the ethical issues that supervisors and managers of lawyers working with vulnerable clients may encounter and addressed how the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid applied in a manner consistent with the Model Rules. Our panel of experts then facilitated a dialogue among attendees about state and national resources available to help them address the unique ethical challenges they face in representing clients with diminished capacity in a legal aid or pro bono construct.

2023 National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs
Columbus, Ohio
November 1-2, 2023
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The 2023 National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs ("ATJ Chairs Meeting") was held in Columbus, Ohio on November 1-2, 2023. We are excited to announce that the ATJ Chairs Meeting was one of the featured conferences taking place during the new ABA Forum on Building Access to Justice for All.

The National Public Defense Workload Study and the ABA's Revised Workload Principle Webinar
October 25, 2023
View Video Recordings>>>

In this webinar, public defense experts Malia Brink and Cynthia Lee will explain the results and uses of the National Public Defense Workload Study released in September 2023. The focus will be on marshaling jurisdiction-specific data and the study results to understand funding needs. Participants will also learn how to use the study to advocate for better resources for attorneys and their clients. Further discussion will be devoted to the recently revised ABA Public Defense Principle on defender workloads, which incorporates the results of the study. This webinar is co-sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defense and the SMU Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center. 

2023 Public Defense Summit
Achieving Political Independence and Manageable Caseloads in a Modern Public Defense System
April 13-14, 2023
Virtual Event
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2023 marks the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright guaranteeing the right to counsel for criminal defendants. But even six decades later, public defenders and other indigent defense providers continue to struggle against outside challenges to provide their clients with the best possible representation. The 2023 ABA Public Defense Summit focused on ensuring manageable workloads, protecting public defender independence, and other such challenges.

2022 Annual National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs
CLE Webinar Series
December 12-14, 2022
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The ABA’s annual National Meeting of State Access to Justice Commission Chairs ("2022 ATJ Chairs Meeting") was held online as a series of five, 90-minute, live CLE Webinars during the period of December 12-14, 2022.  The webinar recordings will be available soon for On-Demand purchase and CLE credit at the ABA’s online CLE Marketplace; check back here within the next few weeks for information on how to purchase them. A detailed agenda with descriptions and speaker information for each individual webinar appears below.

The New ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid
May 23-24, 2022
Now free for ABA Members!
Virtual Training
Learn More >>>

For sixty years, the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Aid have provided guidance to the nation's legal aid organizations on best practices for the delivery of legal services to their clients. The Standards recently underwent a year-long revision and redrafting process, resulting in a newly adopted set of Standards that reflect today's legal aid practice. This six-hour training is designed for legal aid organization leaders, managers, staff, funders, and board members to learn how the Standards have been revised to better support the provision of high-quality legal services and to ensure that legal aid organizations are managed effectively.

2022 ABA Public Defense Summit
April 21-22, 2022
Management and Oversight of Assigned Counsel and Contract Systems
Virtual Event
View Recordings>>>

In almost every jurisdiction in the country, some portion of public defense work is undertaken by private practice attorneys operating as either court appointed or contract counsel. The 2022 ABA public defense summit focused on the needs and oversight of such attorneys, whether they were representing all individuals charged with crimes in their jurisdiction or just a small portion thereof.

Court Fees and Surcharges: Reforms and Post-Pandemic Impact - March 29, 2021
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This program examined the issue of fees and their impact on defendants, as well as the legislative reforms proposed or instituted in several jurisdictions. This program also examined the future of court fee reform in light of the pandemic and its impact on courts and budgets. 

Racial Disparities and Criminal Justice: A Conversation with Cheri Beasley and Ted Shaw - Feb 23, 2021
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A discussion of racial disparities and the criminal justice system with former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and former Director-General of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Ted Shaw. They address the progress, backlashes, and personal cost of working to acknowledge and address discrimination in criminal justice, as well as guidance for future reform efforts.

ABA Public Defense Summit
Virtual Event
January 21-22, 2021

OVERALL DESCRIPTION:  ABA Public Defense Summit focused on misdemeanor courts, and the role public defenders should play in effectively representing misdemeanor defendants and ensuring that the procedures in these courts protect those who are not entitled to counsel.

DAY ONE DESCRIPTION: Most people have their first experiences with the criminal justice system in Misdemeanor Court. Misdemeanor convictions, while often considered minor, can result not only in incarceration, but also extreme collateral consequences and crippling fines and fees. Despite the significant impact misdemeanor convictions have on accused individuals and their loved ones, the 6th Amendment right to counsel in misdemeanor court is limited to those who face potential incarceration. Day One of the Public Defense Summit  focused on issues of the monetary cost of misdemeanor courts, as well as when there is a right to counsel. The Sessions covered Fines and Fees, No Counsel Courts, and Bail Reform.

DAY TWO DESCRIPTION: Day Two of the Summit focused on efforts to reform aspects of Misdemeanor Courts. Topics included Ethical Obligations in Misdemeanor Courts, Counsel at First Appearance, and Criminalization of Homelessness and Mental Health Issues.

2020 ABA Midyear CLE: Holistic Representation

SCLAID hosted a program "Holistic Representation: Models for assisting clients to address the root causes of justice system involvement" at the 2020 ABA Midyear Meeting, a part of the Defending Liberty and Pursuing Justice Summit.

Defending Liberty and Pursuing Justice Summit
View Materials>>>