Statement of Qualifications from Marissa Elkins

Marissa ElkinsMarissa Elkins

Position Seeking: Board Member

I am writing to express interest and convey my qualifications for a position on NACDL’s Board of Directors. In the last five years, I have successfully launched my private practice and assisted in the launch of one preschool career, and I find that I am now finally in a position to be of greater service to an organization that has offered much to me.

I am a solo attorney in western Massachusetts, with a practice primarily (90+%) focused on criminal defense. I am especially dedicated to indigent defense, accepting major felony appointments in state court at both the Superior Court trial level and post-conviction cases before the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Supreme Judicial Court and in the United States District Court in Springfield as a member of the local CJA panel. In addition, I have represented non-indigent clients on criminal matters in District and Superior Court throughout Massachusetts. I also dedicate a small percentage of my practice to civil rights litigation, including one matter accepted on a pro bono basis at the request of the United States District Court in Springfield.

I joined NACDL after leaving the public defender office for private practice and I have found that this organization has been an invaluable resource as I have worked to grow as an advocate and counselor and build my practice. Throughout my career, I have attended as many NACDL conferences as my schedule and budget would permit. I attended my first conference in Boston in 2006, and since then I have attended seminars and meetings in Boston in 2009, Fort Lauderdale in 2012, DC in 2012, and New York and Denver (which was a particularly outstanding seminar) in 2013. In 2012, I became involved with the Indigent Defense Committee and have agreed to write an article for an upcoming issue of the Champion on a topic related to that committee’s mission. I also served on the IDC subcommittee that reviewed and selected the 2013 Champion of Indigent Defense Award and have agreed to work on the Rural Counties Project.

My involvement with NACDL is a natural extension of my commitment to my local criminal defense and legal community. I am currently President-Elect of the Hampshire County Bar Association and have been a member of that organization’s executive board since 2010. Prior to my service on the executive board, I helped organize the Bar Association’s annual charity fundraiser several years in a row. In the area of criminal defense training, I have given presentations on various emerging legal issues at trainings for the Hampshire County Bar Advocate Program (private, court-appointed attorney panel) program and act as a mentor/resource attorney for the Hampden County Bar Advocate program. In 2013, I organized and recruited lawyers to participate in a required training for ASL and Certified Deaf Interpreters seeking certification as court interpreters and acted as lead counsel in the mock trial culminating the training. Finally, I am an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where I teach Moot Court each January.

I look forward to taking my involvement with NACDL to the next level and hope that I will be given that opportunity. It is a community that nourishes me as a practitioner and an advocate and I would be honored to give back to the organization by serving on the Board of Directors.

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