Alfreda D. Coward is a partner of Coward & Coward, P.A., a law firm in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She practices with her sister, Kimberly D. Coward, primarily representing clients in the areas of criminal law, family law and municipal representation. Prior to starting her own practice, she served as an Assistant Public Defender for eight years. During her approximate twenty-two years as an attorney, Ms. Coward has had well over 200 jury trials. Some of these trials were recorded and aired on Court TV, MSNBC and NBC Dateline. Ms. Coward is a graduate of the University of Florida, where she received her Juris Doctorate Degree in 1995 and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology in 1992. Ms. Coward is a member of The Florida Bar. She is also admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. Ms. Coward is very active in the American Bar Association having served in numerous leadership positions with the Section of Litigation, the General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division and the Young Lawyers Division. This year, she serves as Secretary for the GP, Solo & Small Firm Division; a Committee Chair for the Section of Litigation and Board Member on Group Legal Services Committee. In addition to Coward & Coward, P.A., Ms. Coward currently serves as the co-founder of One Voice Children’s Law Center. One Voice Children’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that represents kids that have pending matters in the dependency, delinquency and/or educational systems. She has received many accolades for her contributions to the community and the profession. Some awards bestowed upon have included the Nation’s Best Advocates, Child Advocate of the Year and 25 Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business. Ms. Coward is a native of Dade City, Florida where she was born as the eldest daughter of Saundra and Clarence Coward and now serves as the proud mother of Malachi.
Franchesca L. Hamilton-Acker is the Managing Attorney/Unit Leader of the Child(ren) In Need of Care Unit (CINC) at Acadiana Legal Service Corporation (ALSC) in Lafayette where she has practiced public interest law for over 18 years. She received a BS degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in English and Political Science from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1995 and a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center in 1998. Mrs. Hamilton-Acker joined the law firm of Acadiana Legal Service Corporation in 1998 where she worked in the Litigation Law Unit practicing housing, consumer, elder, and juvenile law for 10 years. In 2010, Mrs. Hamilton-Acker led the creation and development of the CINC Unit at ALSC which focuses primarily on representing children in dependency proceedings. Mrs. Hamilton-Acker has made a career choice of public interest law with a commitment to pursuing access to justice for all, especially the voiceless. As the Managing Attorney of the CINC Unit at ALSC, she promotes an assertive and holistic approach to the representation of children in dependency proceedings to ensure that every client has a voice. She oversees this representation in Southwest, Central and North Louisiana encompassing 47 juvenile court jurisdictions which includes overseeing the involvement of pro bono attorneys and contract attorneys.
Mrs. Hamilton-Acker is the Chief Diversity Officer and Secretary of the ABA Section of Litigation and the working group of the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee in the Section of Litigation of the American Bar Association. She is an advisory member on the ABA Youth at Risk Commission and a former member of the Louisiana Child in Need of Care Legislative Task Force. She is the President of the Louis A. Martinet Society and serves on the Board of Directors for the Family Tree. Mrs. Hamilton-Acker has been honored by the Lafayette Bar Association, the Louisiana State Bar Association and the ABA Young Lawyers Division. In 2017 she was appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to the Louisiana Children Trust Fund Commission where she was elected to Committee Chair.
Jojo Liu is the Assistant Director of the Utah Indigent Defense Commission. In that role, she focuses on the juvenile court aspects of the IDC's mandate to ensure effective public defense services statewide. Prior, she was the Clinical Director at the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
Nubia Peña is a member of the zealous team at the Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys where she advocates for youth rights during detention and delinquency proceedings. She attended the 2018 Juvenile Training Immersion Program Summer Academy (JTIP) and was shortly after certified as a JTIP Trainer. Ms. Peña is also a national training consultant dedicated to bringing awareness to intersections of trauma and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, an epidemic that targets our most vulnerable youth by streamlining them into the juvenile justice system. Ms. Peña has actively sought to bring awareness to issues of violence and systemic oppression through her personal faith-based initiatives and professional endeavors. She has a decade of experience assisting survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, and violent crimes as a Law Enforcement Victim Advocate. Since 2007, Ms. Peña has served as the Training and Prevention Education Specialist at the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) where she developed trainings on Youth Advocacy for Trafficked Survivors, Social Justice in Prevention Efforts, and Sexual Harassment in the #MeToo Era. In addition, she is also the founder and director of Royalty Rising Youth Ministry, a culturally relevant and gender specific outreach initiative for at-risk and marginalized young adults. Ms. Peña received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in May 2016. During that year, she was selected as one of 25 law students in the nation to be recognized and highlighted for her social justice activism in the National Jurist, a leading news source in legal education.
Preferred Pronouns: She, her, hers
Marlene Sallo is the Executive Director of the Disability Law Center (DLC), the Massachusetts Protection and Advocacy agency. DLC is a private, non-profit organization responsible for providing protection and advocacy for Massachusetts residents with disabilities. Prior to relocating to Massachusetts Ms. Sallo worked for the Obama Administration where she worked to address tensions associated with allegations of discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin and served as the in-house expert on conflicts in public schools that were based on religion, sexual orientation, or disability. Prior to assuming this role, Ms. Sallo was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (“Commission”), otherwise known as the Nation’s “Watchdog” agency. While at the Commission Ms. Sallo had the opportunity to direct several fact-finding public hearings and reports covering several civil rights issues based on gender, religion, national origin, and the administration of justice. Ms. Sallo has dedicated her career to protecting the rights of disenfranchised and vulnerable children and youth through her work as a case manager, special education teacher and attorney/advocate. As a zealous advocate for children, she has challenged policies and practices within public school systems that push students with disabilities or minority students out of school and into the juvenile justice system. Ms. Sallo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Manhattanville College and a Juris Doctorate degree from Florida State University College of Law. Ms. Sallo is also the recipient of a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from Manhattanville College. Ms. Sallo serves as the Co-Chair of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Litigation, Children’s Rights Litigation Committee and previously served as a Commissioner with the ABA’s Commission for Youth at Risk.
Pamela Vickrey is the Executive Director of the Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys. Ms. Vickrey also serves as vice chair to the Utah Sentencing Commission; chair of the Juvenile Subcommittee for the Utah Sentencing Commission; a member of the Indigent Defense Commission; and the juvenile defense representative on the Juvenile Justice Implementation Committee under Utah’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Ms. Vickrey also served as the past chairwoman of the Utah State Advisory Group and still serves as a member. Ms. Vickrey has been instrumental in numerous sweeping reforms in Utah, including: the creation of Utah’s first juvenile mental health court; the development and implementation of Utah’s juvenile competency statute; ending indiscriminate shackling of youth; eliminating juvenile life without parole sentences; legislative amendments to Utah’s laws regarding the transfer of youth to the adult criminal justice system; automatic appointment of counsel for all children at all juvenile court proceedings. Ms. Vickrey also helped develop and pass an omnibus juvenile justice reform bill that identified and addressed racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system; removed truancy from the court system; diverted low-risk youth from formal court proceedings; limited the imposition of fines and fees, driver’s license suspensions, and compensatory service; shifted dollars from costly out-of-home placements for children to community-based services; and restricted the use of detention. As the first certified Juvenile Training Immersion Program trainer in Utah, Pam coordinates and provides specialized training to juvenile defense attorneys in the state and around the country.
Angela C. Vigil is a Partner and Executive Director of Pro Bono at the law firm of Baker McKenzie. Ms. Vigil has an active practice in the representation of children in children’s law, in appellate work and in human rights and civil rights advocacy. She has been recognized with honors from Northwestern University School of Law for her Outstanding Commitment to Public Service, the American Bar Association for her pro bono work, the National Association of Counsel for Children for her work on behalf of children and youth, and several organizations in Florida where she lives and practices. She helps lead teams on child welfare, juvenile justice and education issues in federal circuit courts, state supreme courts and in the appellate and trial courts of Florida where she has been focusing on the representation of victims of immigrant children and trafficking victims in Miami and from around the nation. In addition, her legal work includes human rights and public international law projects for global pro bono clients of the Firm. She is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on issues including U.S. Supreme Court decision relevant to defenders at the National Juvenile Defender Summit, sessions at the Pro Bono Institute’s national seminar, sessions at the Equal Justice Conference of the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association and the ABA, a human rights perspective on the legal needs of street-connected children at the International Summit on the Legal Needs of Street Children as well as other organizations. She recently helped found the Children’s Rights Summit that is now an annual event in Silicon Valley for in-house counsel and children’s advocates. She also helped lead the first-ever White House Hackathon on foster care and technology and has continued the work started there in other technology developments around the country focusing on at risk and vulnerable children and youth. She is member and helps lead efforts of the American Bar Association in public interest law including the Working Group on Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants of the ABA, Section of Litigation’s Children’s Rights Litigation Committee, the Coordinating Committee on the Legal Needs of Homeless Youth, and the Pro Pro Bono Task Force for the Section of Litigation. Angela is a board member and active faculty for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and a member of the Standing committee on Pro Bono for the Florida Bar. She is a Board Member of the Florida Bar Foundation. Her past work includes service as a Pro Bono Task Force member of congressionally-appointed Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation and a special advisor and former chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Tasha Williams received her J.D. from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2008. After law school, Tasha worked for a private criminal defense lawyer, during which time she appeared in federal, state, and justice courts. Since 2010, Tasha has been practicing with Utah Juvenile Defender Attorneys, a stand-alone office dedicated to the representation of youth in delinquency cases. Tasha has kept the same caseload for the last seven years, which has given her a unique opportunity to represent her clients from their detention hearings through expungement. In 2016, Tasha was awarded Youth Advocate of the Year by the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice.