News Release

Malika Saada Saar Receives Champion of Justice Legal Award from the Nation's Criminal Defense Bar

New York, NY (April 25, 2018) — At the Foundation for Criminal Justice Gala celebrating the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at 60 Years on April 20, 2018, in New York City, NACDL presented its Champion of Justice Legal Award to Malika Saada Saar. NACDL’s Champion of Justice Awards are bestowed upon those individuals who -- through legislative, journalistic or humanitarian pursuits -- have staunchly preserved or defended the constitutional rights of American citizens and have endeavored to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime.

Malika Saada Saar is Google's Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights. Before joining Google, Malika was founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls), a human rights organization focused on gender-based violence against young women and girls in the U.S. She also served as Special Counsel on Human Rights at The Raben Group. As a human rights lawyer and advocate, she led the effort to shut down Craigslist sex ads that served as the leading site for the trafficking of children for sex, ended the federal practice of shackling pregnant mothers behind bars in U.S. prisons, and successfully advocated for millions in federal funding for treatment services for at-risk families.

NACDL President Rick Jones said: “Malika embodies the Champion of Justice in every sense of the award.  Her fight for those who often don’t have a voice is an inspiration. Her work with women and children has shined a light on abuses and provided real reform, including ending the federal process of shackling pregnant mothers behind bars. She has been a resource for those wishing to learn more and contribute in this space. I am thrilled to recognize her work and excited to partner with her at every opportunity in the future.”

Newsweek and the Daily Beast have named Ms. Saada Saar as one of “150 Women Who Shake the World.” And the Obama White House selected her to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights and Essie Justice Group. Malika has been featured in the Daily Beast, Huffington Post, O: The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Politico, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Elle, Redbook Magazine, Essence, Tavis Smiley Show, BBC, ABC News, Good Morning America, CNN, and National Public Radio. She has also been honored by Brown University's highest alumni award, the Roger Williams award, and by Georgetown Law Center's esteemed Robert F. Drinan Award for Public Service.

Saada Saar received her B.A. from Brown University, M.A. in Education from Stanford University, and J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

To see past recipients of NACDL's Champion of Justice Award, please visit

The 2018 Foundation for Criminal Justice Gala Celebrating NACDL at 60 was sponsored in part by Diamond Jubilee Champion Paul, Weiss; and Champions of Liberty Greenberg Traurig, Kramer Levin, Skadden, and Winston & Strawn.

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Ian Nawalinski, NACDL Public Affairs & Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7624 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 legal system.