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August 12, 2020

Washington, D.C., lawyer April Frazier-Camara new chair of ABA Criminal Justice Section

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2020 — April Frazier-Camara, chief of lifelong learning at the Washington, D.C.-based National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), has been elected chair of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section for the 2020-21 term.

“In the upcoming year, CJS will embark on a journey of exploring the critical ways in which race plays a role in every facet of the criminal legal system, and we hope to model the way for other stakeholders by addressing today's most pressing criminal justice issue, which is race,” said Frazier-Camara, a Memphis native and a nationally recognized trainer in the area of leadership, racial equity, diversity and inclusion, and criminal justice reform.

Prior to joining NLADA, Frazier-Camara worked as a community public defender at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, which is widely recognized as the national model for quality public defense. She later served as the special assistant in the Juvenile Defender Unit at the law office of the Shelby County Public Defender in Memphis, Tennessee, where she was responsible for implementing U.S. Department of Justice reforms and helping to build the county’s first-ever holistic and team-based juvenile defense practice that employed both social workers and attorneys.

In addition to serving as chair of the Criminal Justice Section, Frazier-Camara has served in other ABA leadership positions. She is a former co-chair of the section’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where she was responsible for the creation and implementation of the CJS Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Program. She also serves on the ABA Women in Criminal Justice Task Force.

Frazier-Camara also has experience working on national policy reform at the ABA and Legal Action Center in New York. Her most recent publication, “Save Black Lives: A Call for Racially-Responsive Strategies and Resources for the Black Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is a comprehensive report that details why public health responses and strategies to address COVID-19 must be centered around race and the criminal legal system.

Frazier-Camara received her J.D. from the Howard University School of Law and her B.A. from Tennessee State University.  

Click here for a photo of Frazier-Camara.

The Criminal Justice Section, with more than 16,000 members, has the primary responsibility for the ABA’s work on solutions to issues involving crime, criminal law and the administration of criminal and juvenile justice. The section plays an active leadership role in bringing the views of the ABA to the attention of federal and state courts, Congress and other federal and state judicial, legislative and executive policymaking bodies. The section also serves as a resource to its member on issues in the forefront of change in the criminal justice arena.


The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.