National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA)

Founded 1911, NLADA has led many legal aid reforms. Membership is legal professionals, institutions and the people they represent. Based in Washington, DC.
Organization website

Primary geographic focus: NATIONAL
Organization type(s): National Association
Acronym or short name: NLADA

National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel.

For 100 years, NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local level through the creation of our public defender system, development of nationally applicable standards for legal representation, groundbreaking legal legislation and the creation of important institutions such as the Legal Services Corporation.

NLADA serves as the collective voice for our country’s civil legal aid and public defender services and provides advocacy, training, technical assistance and the NLADA Insurance Program to its members, who are comprised of legal professionals, institutions and the people they represent.



Developing a National Message for Civil Legal Services: Analysis of National Survey and Focus Group Research

Project for Future of Equal Justice, National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
May 1, 2000
National survey and focus group research by Belden, Russonello & Stewart (BRS) to develop a message to help build public support for civil legal services for low-income people.



We don’t need fewer lawyers. We need cheaper ones.

Martha Bergmark
Washington Post
June 2, 2015
Unable to afford representation, more Americans are going to court alone, and they're losing. An opinion piece by Voices for Civil Justice Executive Director Martha Bergmark.

News Story

Trump Budget Draft Targets Cops, Crime Victims

Marshall Project
January 19, 2017
Also civil rights enforcement and legal aid for the poor.

News Story

Legal Services Worried That Trump Will Take Ax to Agency

Charles Toutant
New Jersey Law Journal
January 25, 2017
But advocates for equal access to the courts say it's too soon to write the agency's obituary.

News Story

Legal Aid Funder Faces Existential Crisis Under Trump

RJ Vogt
October 28, 2018
Following Donald Trump's election to the presidency, the LSC and its grantees face an existential crisis — for the first time since President Ronald Reagan left office, the executive branch has repeatedly called for LSC's elimination.

News Story

Will Congress Heed Trump’s Call To Nix Legal Aid Funder?

RJ Vogt
March 24, 2019
For the third year in a row, President Trump’s budget calls for eliminating LSC, but advocates for America’s main funder of civil legal aid remain hopeful that lawmakers will again rebuff that recommendation.

News Story

How Corporate America Can Help Close The Justice Gap

Kevin Penton
September 29, 2019
When the Trump administration threatened to eliminate the Legal Services Corp. this year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise helped marshal corporate general counsel to fight back. It’s one timely example, according to business leaders at a recent Manhattan event, of the power that companies have to enact social change.

News Story

Legal aid organizations strained by increase in pandemic-related cases, including domestic violence, unemployment claims

Antonia Ayres-Brown
Chicago Tribune
May 11, 2020

News Story

Virus Lights Fire Under Eviction Right To Counsel Movement

Natalie Rodriguez
August 16, 2020

Press Release

New Fellowship Launched to Build Healthcare Expertise Among Civil Legal Aid Leaders

National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (NCMLP), GWU Milken Institute School of Public Health
March 5, 2014
The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership and NLADA announced a new fellowship designed to build healthcare expertise in the legal aid community.

This page last modified: Fri, April 10, 2015 -- 2:54 pm ET