News Release

Nation's Criminal Defense Bar to Host Inaugural Presidential Summit & Seminar, Race Matters: The Impact of Race on Criminal Justice; NACDL and Foundation for Criminal Justice Scholarships Available for Public Defense Providers

Washington, DC (June 27, 2017) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is convening its Inaugural Presidential Summit and Seminar, Race Matters: The Impact of Race on Criminal Justice. The program will be held at the Greektown Hotel, Detroit, Mich., on Sept. 14-15, 2017. Need-based and public defense provider scholarships are available for this program, as explained in greater detail below.

Race Matters in our criminal justice system. It affects what happens from initial contact with police on the street, to the result of the case, and everything in between. As part of being effective advocates for our clients, criminal defense lawyers face the challenge of confronting the difficult issues presented by race in America. This inaugural Presidential Summit is designed to help practitioners identify and confront issues of racial bias in our courts, the law enforcement community, by prosecutors, and even the defense team. Attendees will hear from trial lawyers, academics, and formerly incarcerated individuals who will offer their personal perspectives, strategies, and ideas on why Race Matters.

"It is well-known that race plays an insidious role in most realms of American society, including in its criminal justice system," said NACDL President Elect Rick Jones, who has called for this summit and seminar. "This program will provide criminal defense lawyers with the latest research and tools to change outcomes in their day-to-day work as advocates and attorneys seeking to uphold the highest constitutional principles of fairness and due process."

"We have put together an incredible faculty including many of the nation's leading experts in this area," said Program Co-Chair Cynthia W. Roseberry. "We've made sure that those who attend will find themselves challenged and engaged by the materials, presenters, and two-day discussion. I am confident that participants will leave this program equipped to attack racial bias in the criminal justice system."

In recent years, the financial support provided by generous grant partners has allowed NACDL to assure thousands of public defense providers have access to the training they need. Through webinars, scholarships, specialized training, and live on-site programs, NACDL has been able to impact communities large and small across the country. 

In addition to these NACDL trainings and programs developed for public defense providers, beginning in fall 2014, NACDL's scholarship program was expanded to provide additional opportunities for defenders to take advantage of specialized training programs conducted by NACDL and a number of other national organizations, regardless of membership status. Assistance is awarded through reimbursement of registration fees and/or travel expenses for qualifying individuals, including full-time public defenders and private assigned counsel. Since then NACDL has awarded more than $300,000 in financial aid to nearly 600 public defense providers representing 46 U.S. states and territories.

To learn more about and to register for the #RaceMattersSummit, click here. If you are interested and eligible to apply for a need-based or public defense scholarship to attend the program, just click the "scholarships" button on the summit landing page linked here.

And to learn more about the impact of and support for NACDL and the FCJ-supported public defense trainings and scholarship program, click here to read Educating for Justice: Training Public Defense Providers to Elevate the Sixth Amendment.

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Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 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.