Strike Force Protocol

The Lawyers' Assistance Strike Force provides counsel and representation to criminal defense lawyers who are members of NACDL threatened with contempt, disqualification, or privilege violations. The following protocols were adopted by the Board of Directors on February 15, 2020.


The mission of the Lawyers' Assistance Strike Force is to provide counsel and representation to criminal defense lawyers who are members of NACDL whose representation of a client is imperiled by the threat of contempt or disqualification, or where the lawyer is served with a subpoena or search warrant for privileged information or attorney work product.


The Strike Force (SF) may assign one or more volunteer strike force (VSF) lawyers to represent NACDL members. If there is to be any indication to any court, tribunal, prosecutor, or the public that the representation is on behalf of NACDL the representation of an NACDL member by the VSF must be approved by a   SF chair, as well as approved by the president or the NACDL executive director. If the representation by the VSF lawyer is solely in that lawyer’s individual capacity, there is no requirement for approval by the president or the executive director.

The SF may provide representation to an NACDL member who is served with a search warrant or subpoena, cited for contempt, is defending a bar complaint not involving a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, is served with a motion to disqualify that lawyer from a case, or whose duty of to provide effective representation is otherwise threatened.  The SF may also provide representation to a non-member who requests SF assistance, provided the individual joins NACDL prior to commencement of the representation.

In cases where SF representation on behalf of NACDL is requested but not authorized, a VSF lawyer may, after notifying the SF chairs, volunteer to provide an NACDL member with representation in that lawyer’s individual capacity.  The SF chairs shall convey to the requesting NACDL member and the VSF lawyer that the representation is provided in the lawyer’s individual capacity and that NACDL does not represent that member, nor does the representation constitute any approval or endorsement of the actions taken by the individual that gave rise to the request for SF assistance. 

Neither NACDL nor the VSF shall incur expenses in connection with the representation of the member. The member shall pay necessary expenses incurred in the course of representation by the VSF lawyer.  The member shall not be asked to pay legal fees.  The member and SF shall formalize this agreement in writing in an appropriate format consistent with prevailing standards.


Representation of any member shall remain confidential unless and until the member allows the representation to become a public matter.  The requirement of confidentiality does not apply to representation when the representation occurs in a manner that is already public.  

Appointment of Strike Force Chairs/Members

The President shall appoint four co-chairs to the Lawyers Assistance Strike Force.

VSF members shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the SF co-chairs.   

The SF co-chairs may assign such other VSF lawyers as are necessary to represent NACDL members on authorized SF matters.

VSF members shall be appointed with the goals of achieving geographic representation throughout the federal circuits and with the goals of promoting diversity and achieving specific subject matter expertise, as well as a balance of federal and state experience

Responsibilities of Strike Force Chairs/Members

The SF chairs shall ensure that all requests for assistance from the NACDL Lawyers Assistance Strike Force are responded to promptly, with a goal of connecting the requester with a SF member or VSF within three business days.

The SF chairs shall ensure that VSF lawyers have the level of expertise necessary to provide NACDL members with the quality of representation envisioned by the NACDL mission statement.

The SF chairs shall report regularly to the Board of Directors describing the number and nature of cases handled.  Case descriptions shall be provided in a generic manner that protects the confidentiality of the representation, unless describing a representation in conjunction with a public matter.

All SF members shall provide written reports of their current SF matters to the SF chairs for inclusion in the Board of Directors’ Board Book prior to each regularly scheduled Board meeting If NACDL’s involvement in the matter has not been publicly disclosed or if the VSF member is representing the lawyer in her/his individual capacity, the matter may be reported in a manner so as to protect the confidentiality of the representation.

Strike Force Advisory Board

A Strike Force Advisory Board shall be appointed by the President to include SF chairs and members, and other attorneys with expertise in the kinds of matters likely to be referred to the Strike Force.  The Advisory Board will regularly update the SF Reference Manual.

All VSF Force members must have a working knowledge of the Reference Manual.

Resolution of the Board of Directors
February 15, 2020
San Diego

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