News Release

West Palm Beach, Florida, Attorney Nellie L. King Installed as First Vice President of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Aug. 19, 2020) — Nellie L. King was sworn in as First Vice President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's annual meeting held on August 15, 2020.

The owner of The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, King exclusively practices criminal defense. Known for her zealous advocacy for clients and the community, King has handled many complex and high-profile cases in state and federal courts, including murder, sex crimes, and drug trafficking cases. She has also served in numerous state and national leadership roles with the aim of reforming the criminal justice system.

King is a past president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) and the Palm Beach Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PBACDL). A Life Member of NACDL, King has served on the Board of Directors, and is currently Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and a member of the Executive, Governance, Women in Criminal Defense, and Budget Committees. She is also a Trustee of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ) and a member of the NFCJ Virtual Gala 2020 Committee. Locally, King serves on the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, as legal counsel to the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, and as a past alumni of Leadership Palm Beach County. King also proudly chairs “Stand Up for Innocence,” an annual night of comedy benefitting the Innocence Project of Florida. This past year, King served as NACDL’s Second Vice President.

King has received numerous honors in recognition of her work, including the 2017 Women in Leadership Award, Private Sector, from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. King’s nomination for this award was based, in part, on her efforts to recruit volunteers for Clemency Project 2014, a project supported by NACDL to assist President Barack Obama’s clemency initiative. This clemency effort sought to right the wrongs of inequitable sentencing policies implemented in the “war on drugs” which resulted in the incarceration of thousands of Americans for non-violent drug offenses.

King received her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University Law School and her B.A. in International Affairs and Russian Studies from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA. Mary Washington College awarded King the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2012 in recognition of her contributions to the legal profession and community. During her tenure at Nova Southeastern, King won the Feinrider Moot Court Competition as well as various trial advocacy awards for her oratory skills and courtroom presence. King lectures frequently on the topics of sex abuse defense, trial techniques, defending the mentally ill, mitigation and alternative sentencing issues, the Fourth Amendment, the Innocence Project, and women in the practice.

King resides in Jupiter, Florida, with her husband, John Wendel, and their five children.


Madeline Sklar, Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7647 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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