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This month I am pleased to introduce one new counsel, and re-introduce another. Maureen Dimino has been appointed Indigent Defense Counsel, taking over the position from Malia Brink, who has been appointed Counsel for Special Projects.
Maureen Dimino is an experienced public defender who joins NACDL following several years in the Miami Public Defender’s Office, where she tried nearly 40 cases and managed an annual caseload of between 60 and 150 cases. Prior to that she worked with low income urban youth as a counselor for the San Francisco Conservation Corps. Maureen also completed internships with both the San Francisco Public Defender and the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University and a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. She brings talent, experience and irrepressible zeal to the Indigent Defense Counsel position.
Maureen sees her new position as one that can produce systemic change, and is determined to “make the system better for clients, for their lawyers and for the poor in general,” and “ensure that the Constitution works for all people, regardless of how much money they have.” Confronted soon after her arrival with deep cuts in indigent funding in Minnesota and Florida, two of the better-funded systems, Maureen noted that “it is going to be even more of an uphill battle than I anticipated, but I am determined that NACDL will provide steadfast support for both public and private indigent defense counsel wherever and whenever we can.”
Malia Brink, who has served brilliantly as NACDL’s Indigent Defense Counsel, has assumed the newly created position of Counsel for Special Projects. She now has a diverse portfolio that will include significant development responsibilities for both NACDL and the Foundation for Criminal Justice, and myriad special projects requiring sophisticated legal analysis. Malia is perfectly suited for this position. She brings extensive experience as a catalyst for indigent defense reform and an impressive career serving legal non-profit organizations.
Prior to coming to NACDL, Malia was a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Pennsylvania, and a Jerome J. Shestack Public Interest Fellow, dividing her time between the ACLU of Pennsylvania and serving as an associate in the litigation department of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, LLP. Prior to that, Malia clerked for the Hon. Norma L. Shapiro, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She has an A.B. in Philosophy from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
When I proposed the creation of the new position and asked Malia about her interest, she jumped at the opportunity. She noted that “as Indigent Defense Counsel I saw NACDL’s potential to grow its reform and public policy initiatives, but no one had the time to pursue that effort. I realized that the Association is perfectly poised for growth if we can pursue development initiatives.” Malia believes that “for an organization to pursue a vibrant legal reform agenda, alternative funding sources are essential to augment membership dues.”
Since assuming her new position, Malia has played a pivotal role in supporting the Foundation for Criminal Justice and articulating its development strategy, planning and executing the 50th Anniversary Dinner Gala, and addressing complex legal issues related to NACDL’s effort to provide legal defense teams for the so-called “high value detainees” at Guantanamo Bay. As she settles into her new position, Malia will be asked to bring her outstanding legal talents and communications skills to a vast array of subject areas. She has gleefully noted that “in my new position I have not left my old substantive area completely. Now I will have the opportunity to conceive of what more NACDL can do to pursue its mission, and help garner the resources to make those aspirations a reality.”
NACDL is fortunate to have Maureen and Malia, two remarkably talented and committed attorneys, on the staff pursuing our institutional mission. No doubt, in the years to come you will read often of their achievements in the pages of this publication.
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