Legal Services Division

About Us

Division Staff

Please do not send requests for legal help to us. We do not provide legal help to individuals, and will not be able to respond to such requests.

Jason T. Vail
Director, Legal Services Division
Chief Counsel, Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants

Jason T. Vail leads the Legal Services Division in its mission to expand access to justice for all persons resulting from the provision of, and appropriate funding for, legal assistance, counsel, and representation in the nation's civil, criminal, and military justice systems. In his role as Division Director, he also serves as Chief Counsel to the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID).  In the decade prior to his promotion to Division Director, Jason served as Chief Counsel to the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP). As a part of this work, he led the creation of the ABA Military and Veterans Legal Center and its programs and initiatives, including the ABA Military Pro Bono Project and ABA Veterans Claims Assistance Network. Before joining the ABA in 2008, Jason's legal practice focused exclusively on civil legal aid, which included nearly seven years as a staff attorney in the Seattle office of Northwest Justice Project, Washington State's largest statewide civil legal aid program for the poor. Building on his experience as a front-line legal aid attorney, Jason continued working with the national civil legal aid community as a legal editor of CLEARINGHOUSE REVIEW: A JOURNAL OF POVERTY LAW AND POLICY, published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. Jason received his B.A. in Business Administration from Eastern Washington University and his J.D. cum laude from Gonzaga University School of Law.

Malia Brink
Counsel for Indigent Defense

Malia N. Brink has spent over 15 years working on criminal justice reform issues with a focus on public defense reform. She currently serves as the Counsel for Public Defense to the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID). Malia also serves as the Deputy Director for the ABA SCLAID's Public Defender Workload Study Projects and the Misdemeanor Court Observation Projects.  Before joining the ABA, Malia served as the Public Defense Project Director at the Justice Programs Office of American University and the Director of Institutional Development and Policy Counsel at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Malia began her legal career as the Jerome J. Shestack Public Interest Fellow at Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, LLP and a Staff Attorney at the ACLU in Philadelphia. Malia also serves as a Lecturer-in-Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she teaches a seminar on the Right to Counsel.  Malia clerked for the Honorable Norma L. Shapiro of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Malia is an honors graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Dartmouth College.

Shubhangi Deoras
Counsel/Director, Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives

Shubhangi (Shubi) Deoras is an attorney licensed in Illinois and currently serves as the Counsel/Director of the ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives. She held the position of Assistant Counsel to the ABA Commission on IOLTA from 2014–2018. Between 2008–2014, Shubi provided consulting services to SCLAID on civil right to counsel activities, during which time she assisted in producing the ABA Directory on Law Governing Appointment of Counsel in State Civil Proceedings. Prior to 2008, Shubi provided consulting services on a variety of civil and/or criminal justice system matters to the Ford Foundation, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Initiative, and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. She also served as Assistant Counsel to SCLAID from 2000–2005, providing staff support for the SCLAID's indigent defense activities, including the development of ABA policy resolutions, reports, and standards relating to indigent defense services and delivery systems. Shubi received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis.   

Mary C. Meixner
Director, Military and Veterans Legal Center
Chief Counsel, Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel

Mary Meixner is the Director of the ABA Military and Veterans Legal Center, along with Counsel for the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel. With the Committee, she manages continuing legal education (CLE) programs for military and civilian attorneys, education for military families, publications, policy advocacy, and collaboration with military legal services and civilian bar engagement. She also oversees the delivery of legal assistance to servicemembers and veterans through program initiatives, including the ABA Military Pro Bono Project and ABA Veterans Claims Assistance Network. Mary joined the American Bar Association in 2011 and managed the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which connects servicemembers in need of pro bono legal assistance with volunteer attorneys throughout the United States. Before joining the ABA, Mary practiced employee benefits law. She is a 2008 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

Rachael Derham
Military Pro Bono Coordinator

Rachael Derham is an attorney licensed in Illinois and serves as the Military Pro Bono Coordinator of the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which connects junior-enlisted military members facing civil legal issues with pro bono volunteers throughout the United States. Before joining the ABA, Rachael served as an Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps Fellow at Legal Aid Chicago and represented low-income veterans facing a variety of civil legal issues. During law school, she interned with the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the Illinois Human Rights Commission, and served as a Lead Articles Editor for The John Marshall Law Review. Rachael received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa, and her J.D. cum laude from The John Marshall Law School in 2018.