Public Defense

The Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (SCLAID) is working to improve public defense systems nationwide.

ABA Public Defense Summit

Moving Online!

Join us for the 2021 ABA Public Defense Summit on Misdemeanor Public Defense. Day 1 of the webinar- January 21, 2021, Day 2-January 22, 2021. Registration is OPEN NOW!

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Katrina 15th Anniversary Programs

From Katrina to COVID

To mark the 15th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (SCLAID) together with the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center at SMU Law School, the ABA Criminal Justice Section and the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice present webinars on the impact of crisis on two key components of the criminal justice system: Jails and Prisons, and Public Defense. The programs will consider what happens to people trapped in the criminal justice system during times of extreme systemic stress and whether or not such times of crisis can be catalysts for reform. Please join us for these free (non-CLE) programs.

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New Report! - Released July 24, 2020

The Indiana Public Defender Commission Report

An Analysis of the Indiana Public Defense System And Attorney Workload Standards

The Indiana Public Defender Commission (“Commission”) separately engaged the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (“ABA SCLAID”) and Crowe LLP (“Crowe”) to collaboratively conduct the Indiana Project, an analysis of public defense workloads, and produce a final report.

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COVID-19 Resources

The ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense (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.

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Public Education Events

Explore upcoming and past events on topics related to public defense.

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Public Defense News

News and news archives available at Email Malia Brink at with news, jobs, events, or subscription requests.

Here is the public defense news Jan 9-13, 2021

2021 Virtual Public Defense Summit – Jan 21-22, 2021! 
This year’s ABA Public Defense Summit will focus 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. Registration is now open.  Group discounts available. PLEASE SHARE WIDELY!


There are too many prosecutors on the bench.  Take it from me, a prosecutor.

Biden helped usher in an era of mass incarceration. Can he now end it?


Find additional indigent criminal defense resources, including links to related ABA groups and committees, publications and standards, and other organizations devoted to improving indigent criminal defense systems.

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