Director of Indigent Defense Training and Policy

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the leading national bar association representing the entire defense bar, is greatly expanding its commitment to providers of indigent defense and is seeking an experienced trainer and policy advocate to head NACDL’s newly created Department of Indigent Defense Training and Policy. The Director will spearhead NACDL’s enhanced indigent training and reform efforts.

The Director will be a member of the national affairs team and will work closely with NACDL’s Indigent Defense Committee. The new Department will also be staffed by an Indigent Defense Training Coordinator and, in fulfilling its training mission, will work closely with NACDL’s seasoned Programs Department. NACDL has obtained several significant grants, the implementation of which will serve as the Department’s initial priority.


The position offers a unique opportunity to broadly impact indigent defense and support indigent defense providers through a broad range of national indigent defense training programs and reform initiatives.

  • Education: Help design and implement training programs for indigent defense providers across the country, in consultation with a national working group of public defense leaders and training experts. Serve as training faculty.
  • Technical Assistance: Coordinate and provide direct technical assistance to indigent defense providers, including a grant-funded project to develop workload metrics for several public defender systems.
  • Litigation: Work with Indigent Defense Committee to develop and oversee systemic litigation projects; recruit law firms for pro bono representation; coordinate litigation teams and amicus briefs; and draft and review pleadings as needed.
  • Advocacy: Serve as NACDL’s representative on commissions and committees. Prepare letters, statements and testimony for policymakers; coordinate with Policy Director on federal issues related to indigent defense; work closely with other national organizations and bar groups to address indigent defense issues; and attend conferences. 
  • Research: Develop and help conduct studies of state or local indigent defense systems and broader issues relevant to indigent defense.
  • Media: Work with Public Affairs Director to coordinate media outreach on indigent defense issues; answer media calls about indigent defense issues; and draft articles for publication.
  • Association: Write or solicit authors for indigent defense column in NACDL’s monthly magazine, The Champion; oversee indigent defense Web pages; prepare budgets and quarterly reports; help coordinate Indigent Defense Committee activities.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • JD and 10 years’ legal experience
  • 7 years’ experience  representing indigent defendants
  • 3 years’ experience coordinating and/or providing legal training
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Commitment to systemic indigent defense reform
  • Familiarity with the indigent defense reform issues and community
  • Willingness to travel

NACDL seeks a candidate with a solid commitment to indigent defense who possesses a keen appreciation for the daily challenges with which most defenders must cope.


Salary commensurate with experience and competitive with senior positions at other not-for-profit associations. Excellent benefits package.

To Apply: 

Send cover letter with salary requirements, resume, and writing sample (5-10 pages preferred) to with the subject line “Indigent Defense Director Position.”


Open until filled.

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