Message From the Chair


Message from the Chair

Share Your Story

Clients Doing Work in the Community
  • Sue Lau
  • Halbert Sullivan

2019 AC Highlights

Poetic Justice Corner

Social Justice Art Auction

2020 Exemplar Award

Member Resource Center

Meet the Client Council

Upcoming NLADA Events
Halbert Sullivan , our featured client advocate, will be presenting at the COD conference on July 15, 2020 .

Halbert Sullivan's presentation will be mainly focused on COVID and Race and the Impact of Reentry on Clients and Communities.
Hello Client Community, 
Let me begin by saying it is an honor to serve as the Interim Chair of the Client Council. As we all work to navigate the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing communities around the world, we as clients, must remember…there is still work to be done. Many people, circumstances and situations have had to “pivot” during this time. However, we want to remind you that NLADA is still committed to the work of advancing justice. With that, I encourage every NLADA client member to stay engaged with the work of NLADA and commit to serving and giving where and when needed. Your talents, your time and your treasure are all valuable to the work that NLADA has been committed to for over 100 years!

As the Interim Chair, two initiatives that I need the client community support on are: increasing the client membership and reinstating the Client Council Sub-committees. We can’t accomplish this without your support. So, be on the lookout for invitations to share your direct contact information so that I can personally reach out to you to engage you in the important work that needs the Client community’s support. 

I want to thank all clients who have remained on the front lines serving in your communities while supporting those hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. I also thank those who remain in the background supporting those who are on the front lines, through giving and other means, but most of all, through prayer. This pandemic has highlighted, even more, the disparities that exist and why the work we do through and with NLADA is so important.

Stay tuned for updates on the annual conference and information on submitting proposals for the client track. Again, your voice is valuable and the work of the client community should be fostered and led by the client community.

In Service with You,

Shawntelle L. Fisher, Founder/CEO
The SoulFisher Ministries
Board Member, NLADA
Interim Chair, NLADA Client Council
Defender Council, NLADA
Development Committee, NLADA

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Share Your Voice
What does equal justice mean to you?

Why are you a client leader?

How have you made a difference in your community?

NLADA unites the civil, client, and defender communities to effectively scale justice to 100%. Clients’ voices and advocacy are critical in this effort. Not only are clients’ lived experiences critical to ensuring the development and implementation of effective justice programs, clients are uniquely powerful advocates in helping those around them gain access to the services they need. 

Reach out to Chelsey Gibson directly at c.gibson@nlada.org or 203-417-7217
Clients Doing Work in the Community During These Difficult Times
Sue Lau
From Legal Aid Society of Orange County
Client Council member Sue Lau rides on Renegade, a quarter horse used in therapy at Dream Catcher in Long Beach, CA, an equine program that serves people with disabilities and US veterans.
A recently presented engraved crystal reads, “With grateful appreciation … Sue Lau … for your many years of service … Thank you for your tireless advocacy on behalf of our client community.”
This recognition celebrates Sue’s perfect meeting and event attendance as a member of LASOC’s and Community Legal Aid SoCal’s Board of Directors for some 20 years. She has been serving as chair and co-chair of its Governance, Audit and (most recently) Lawyers Referral Service Committees. During the latter years, Sue was re-elected and currently serves as a member of NLADA’s Client Council, volunteering additionally on the Board’s Member Services and its Policy and Regulations Committees. She also headed the Client Council’s Client Bill of Rights Ad Hoc Committee efforts, that were funded by a Ford Foundation grant.
In addition to her social justice and equity involvement, Sue is an active environmental protection volunteer. She founded the BBSC Aquarist Team for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the 1990’s and was named their Chief Aquarist. She also earned the Newport Bay Conservancy certified naturalist credentials and by working within the OC Parks system, she garnered Orange County’s Spirit Award in 2017.
Sue has been truly dedicated to improving the quality of life for US veterans and society’s most vulnerable, (especially the homeless, seniors and people with disabilities [PWD]).
For these citizens, quarantine needs have skyrocketed during this COVID-19 pandemic. The $15 million Meals On Wheels (Orange County) nonprofit, where Sue is a re-elected Advisory Council officer, demands are estimated to have increased by 300% for senior center lunch participants; by 45% for its home deliveries; and exponentially by meeting the needs of California Governor’s temporary Great Plates program.
The Orange County Transportation Authority works with federal, state, regional and local agencies to plan, fund, implement and maintain transportation programs and services. Sue chairs OCTA’s Special Needs Advisory Council that provides transit and paratransit input, communicating with and recommending mechanisms for obtaining PWD and senior service users’ insight on issues via focus groups, surveys, public meetings, et cetera.

Dealing with health challenges, Sue has served as a Rotary International spokesperson. In 2000, she founded PSP, a 501 (c)(3) organization with local to international affiliations that provides durable medical equipment, education and performing arts experiences for people with disabilities and their caregivers.

Sue believes that by being holistically involved, she gains the constant, necessary and multi-dimensional insight for the ongoing work that’s vital for NLADA and legal aid programs to provide "equal access to justice." She also believes that with diversity and by being involved with programs that meet the needs of the most vulnerable, she is better equipped to help to update our laws and constitution so that there can be "equal justice under law" and better equal access to justice for all. 
Halbert Sullivan
Halbert Sullivan is founder and CEO of  Fathers & Families Support Center   in St. Louis, MO.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the incarcerated population especially hard through the inadequate health facilities and the lack of PPE for the facilities, staff and the incarcerated. For many, it is a life sentence in place of the 3 years, 4 years or 10 years they were sentenced to do. What will life look like or be like upon their release?
I am the Founding President/CEO of the Fathers and Families Support Center (FFSC), incorporated as a nonprofit, 22 years ago. The Mission is “To foster healthy relationships by strengthening families and communities.” FFSC has served 17,000 fathers and 42,000 children, transitioning the nonparticipating father to a position of involvement and equity (70% are ex-offenders or have histories of incarceration). FFSC has experienced success in four areas (i.e., 62% job placement rate, a 75% job retention rate, a 75% rate for fathers being financially supportive of their children and an 80% interaction with their children). FFSC is recognized nationally as an authority on father involvement. The goal of our work is to enhance responsible behavior when working with these fathers. I have developed and implemented strategies drawn from 27 years of drug addiction and a criminal background that included 3 stays in the State of New York Department of Corrections.

Reentry programing is a major focus of FFSC’s overall work to impact outcomes for children and to impact recidivism rates for recently incarcerated persons by providing skills training, employment and responsible fatherhood. Today there is a significant amount of funding (government, corporations and foundations) being poured into programs to decrease the recidivism rates in our country. However, the true experts are not at the planning tables of those funding and implementing these programs; where are the successful returning citizens? There are many and they are absent from the planning tables. To know how to change the mind-set of those recently incarcerated and the value of re-engaging family is what we bring to the table.

I decided to address this social problem through a personal commitment to become a change agent in my community. My personal life greatly influenced my decision. As a young man, I had committed numerous crimes, terrorized and misused my community. Today I possess a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. I earned my degree from one of the most prestigious Universities in the country- Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. I am also a recovering drug addict and an ex-con. I spent 27 years in and out of prison and addicted to drugs and alcohol. It became my passion to help others break the cycle of addiction and incarceration. I traveled down an ugly path in my youth but I had a very good family life, we were poor but values, morals, having a value on education and work ethic was all part of my rearing. The adults in my community were respectful, responsible and great role models - it takes a community to raise a child. In my opinion "role models" are very important and the parent is a child's first role model. During the pandemic time frame of March 23, 2020 thru May 28, 2020 FFSC has:
·        Maintained the employment of our 52 staff members.
·        Continued working with 100 justice involved participants.
·        Provided almost $30,000 in food vouchers to our participants.
·        Placed 55 participants into employment.

Visit our new website!  
2019 Annual Conference Highlights

"I enjoyed the conference and the opportunity to gain new knowledge and acquaintances! Continue with the great work everyone!"  -LaDonna Sims
"The Conference was indeed a successful one, yet again. I felt welcomed by NLADA Staff, Contributors, and the hospitality of the Detroit Community was excellent. I looked forward to and was glad to network with all of our seasoned NLADA Client advocates, and others, and enjoyed getting to know some of our new leaders to the community. I learned so much from all the educational workshops I attended and will indeed share the information with my fellow advocates back home."  –Suzanne Small

"Us Philadelphians are in agreement that this conference was a favorite for us. It was so very informative and I'm comfortable enough to promise we all left more knowledgeable than how we arrived."  –Marsha Mathis

"Even though I am an older person I am a babe in this work. I am grateful for all I have learned and am now able to share. May everyone feel renewed in their knowledge and be able to continue to do this mighty and meaningful work." –Jurett Mooltrey-Weathers

"You have again done a wonderful job. I thank you so much. I was able to take information and knowledge I gained from the Bey/Smith workshop and use it in my Sunday meeting. You are fantastic!" –David Pearson

"What a great conference this year! I learned a great deal about the NLADA Client Council structure that will help me be better informed and a louder voice at my local organization and abroad." -Marvin Powell, Jr.


Client Caucus
Ed Burnette, Julie Reiskin, Regina Kelly, Ofelia Zapata

- The panelists were extremely informational.
- The Client Caucus gets better and better every year.
- Invested. Engaged. Knowledgeable. Relevant.
- I loved the fact that the audience was given the
opportunity to engage as well. 
- This was an eye opening session.

Centering the Voices of Directly Affected People
Ronald Simpson-Bey, Doug Smith

- It empowered the attendees.
- Interactive and collective class participation led by a beautiful vision.
- Excellent training. Made me sit back and reconsider my community involvement.
-Very relatable and transparent content.
- I made a commitment to myself to be more accountable. 

LSC and the Client Voice
Julie Reiskin and Jim Sandman

- Always the best session at the conference.
- Very informative. 
- The panelist were experts at their presentation. 
- Walked away feeling empowered. 
- The panelists respected the client voice and heard us out. 

The Importance of Self-Advocacy: Partnering with an Advocate
Suzanne Small

- I will take this information back to help empower other clients.
- I loved the interaction with the audience.
- This session made me aware that I was not doing enough advocating for my clients with disability.
- The presenter was excellent and gave a great presentation.
- The handouts were great. 
- This session was very important for self advocating clients. 

Raid Response: Know Your Civil and Family Law Rights Relating to Immigration Law Enforcement
Emma Alaniz, Carlos Blanco, Ralph Carrasco, Ramona Casas, Daniela Dwyer, Ofelia Zapata

- We need this session every year!
- Very knowledgeable speakers.
- The content was fresh and engaging.
- Raid Response was extremely compassionate and moving.

The Impact of Implicit Bias on Client Experience and Outcomes
Kimberly Merchant

- Anytime you walk in a conference room and there are
no seats left that says a lot!
- Hands down the best workshop for clients.
- The information was great
- She kept the entire room's attention.
- Presenter was knowledgeable and passionate 

The Players in the School-to-Prison Pipeline Structure: Untangling the Complex Web of Inequities
Kimberly Merchant

- The breakdown of the information was excellent.
- Amazingly informational.
- You could tell that each presenter was passionate
about this type of work.
- Engaging.
- Now this is the type of information I can take back to my community.

Persevering Through Your Past, Living with a Purpose, and Working with a Passion!
LaTonya Myers

- Spoke with such power and conviction.
- She took her time to answer everyone's questions at the end.
- Her legal service program is lucky to have someone
like her on their team.
- Eye-opening.
- Clients that are actually doing the work and who can come back and teach it to us is empowering. 

Enhancing the Client Voice: Best Practices for Client Board Members
James Scruggs

- Wide range of topics. Very engaging.
- Wonderful presentation. I can't wait to take my insights from this session back home with me.
- Dynamic and informative!
- Great subject and content.
Clients members from all over representing their programs.

5 clients - Lone Star Legal Aid
5 clients - Legal Aid Society of San Diego
3 clients - Greater Boston Legal Services
3 clients - Maryland Legal Aid
5 clients - TRLA
7 clients - Indiana Legal Services
3 clients - Inland Counties Legal Services
8 clients - PLAN
Poetic Justice Corner
Jurette Mooltrey-Weathers describes the exponential impact a single person can have: “At one point, someone advocated for me, and if I can just give a little bit of that back and then they can pass it on and give it back. Because I know the feeling that you can’t talk, feeling that you need someone to help you. You don’t know how to navigate the court. You don’t know which way to go. Then someone steps in to help you.” 
Speak for me for I cannot talk
And I'll carry you when you cannot walk 
Stand with me and help me to believe
Now look at just how much WE've Achieved
Working together to navigate the course
Watch how WE Become this Striking Force
Just when I think I'll be drowned in defeat
You let me know there isn't anything WE Can't Beat
Overwhelm and paralyzed by the pain 
Then I'm reminded there's so much more of the Best of Life Yet To Gain
Written By 
Jurett Mooltrey-Weathers
At NLADA we share Jurette’s vision and empower client leaders through networking and training on communication practices, board leadership, technical legal issues, and much more. With your support, NLADA will expand its collaboration with client members and amplify their voices.
NLADA's Social Justice Art Auction
Last year was NLADA’s first ever social justice art auction, and we’re back in 2020 with even more extraordinary pieces. A full catalogue is coming your way shortly and bidding this year will be all online so that people all across the country will have a chance to incorporate these pieces in their homes and offices. Below is a list of a few of our favorite pieces that were generously donated.
Take A Knee 
The artist Nicolas Lampert stated, "When Colin Kaepernick was interviewed by a Bay Area news station after taking a knee during the National Anthem at the start of an NFL preseason game in 2016 he explained his reasons why: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” His courage to speak out against police brutality and systemic racism is commendable. So is his activism with the Know Your Rights Camp and the millions of dollars he has raised for grassroots organizations across the country. He is the athlete of our times."
Loosie Law
Justyne Fischer is an award-winning printmaker whose work focuses on Social Memorials. She currently teaches full time to nationally recognized and award-winning students at South County High School. Justyne stated that “‘Loosie Law’ represents a wild west mentality where severe and irreversible punishment does not match the petty crime.”
Pastel Flowers
Sentenced to life in prison at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in 1978, Kathy Tyler is now 84 years old. Having developed a passion for art a decade ago, Kathy is prolific and she likes to donate her paintings to fundraisers to make a difference. Her pastels of animals, birds’ nests, and landscapes hang over her bed.
Lady Justice
Nancy Ohanian stated that, "Graphic imagery can speak directly when words are inadequate, inappropriate, or unheard by legislators that form the justice system. It can be loud, in-your-face, and difficult to ignore. The title “Criminal Justice,” is an oxymoron representing corruption in the U.S. justice system itself. Lady Justice, in her prison uniform, isn’t blind as she peeks beneath her blindfold. She is handcuffed to the scales of justice balanced with crime-scene tape as her sword points to money – money that influences her decisions."
2020 Exemplar Award:
Honoring Marcus Brown
We are so pleased to be presenting the 2020 Exemplar Award to Marcus V. Brown , Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Entergy Corporation .
Exemplifying the very best of impactful corporate legal leadership, Marcus believes that companies can, should, and must do more to transform the justice system in America. Under Marcus' leadership at Entergy, having a positive social impact and promoting equity and sustainability is a core business strategy. Marcus' hands-on, innovative leadership is making a difference throughout the Southeast and the country as he leverages Entergy's increased commitment and resources in pursuit of equal justice.

These extraordinary times call for exemplary leadership from all sectors of society. Please take a moment to watch this short message from Marcus. We hope you will be inspired by Marcus’ vision of a new paradigm in which companies embrace the cause of justice as integral to their business model. 
Learn more about NLADA and the 2020 NLADA Exemplar Awards Dinner on September 16 by visiting  http://www.nlada.org/donate/annual-dinner  or reach out to  c.gibson@nlada.org .
Member Resource Center
Click the banner to go directly to NLADA's COVID-19 Update and Resources website.
The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not only exacerbated existing legal challenges faced by low-income and vulnerable people in the United States, it has also highlighted new issues in many substantive areas. Across the country, advocates in civil legal aid, public defense and affected communities are responding to ensure access to basic human needs and safety. NLADA is coordinating with an array of experts in both the delivery of legal services and access to justice, as well as experts in specific practice areas and leaders in providing civil legal aid and public defense.

This is a space for advocates to share resources, discuss responses and strategies with one another, identify experts in particular issues,and find policy developments affecting the delivery of legal services and access to justice. This page will be updated and expanded as the pandemic and its collateral consequences continue to develop. Please email  Kellianne Elliott  with submissions you might have for consideration in the relevant categories.

Additional resources pertaining to access to justice for low-income and vulnerable people are available from the  American Bar Association Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force  and  Standing Committee on Legal Aid & Indigent Defendants Association of Pro Bono Counsel Legal Services Corporation  (LSC),  Management Information Exchange  (MIE),  Pro Bono Institute Shriver Center on Poverty Law Voices for Civil Justice , and many other important partners highlighted on this page. If interested, you can find information on NLADA events and operations  here .

For inquiries about renewing your membership or how to join NLADA please contact membership@nlada.org .   
Help us expand our community to your colleagues and peers!

Client Members who   sign up together  may receive a free membership.

Your Interim Chair, Shawntelle Fisher CHALLENGES YOU to bring in 5 members or more for additional chances of  FREE memberships with the offer above.

Sign up two new client members and your next membership is on us!

New Client Member Resources

Did you know NLADA has a special membership category just for clients?  

Through a NLADA membership, clients engaged in the world of equal justice can take advantage of all of NLADA’s standard member benefits, along with our specially-curated content and engagement opportunities just for clients, including:

  • Curated news and information.
  • Access to the free Client Member listserv (OPEN NOW!).
  • Opportunity to engage through the NLADA Client Council and weigh in on important issues facing clients across the country.
  • Tailored programming at the Annual Conference.
  • Steep registration discounts.
Meet the Client Council
Shawntelle Fisher (Interim Chair)
Rosita Stanley (Vice Chair, NLADA Board of Directors)
Sue Lau
Mr. Carlton is an AmeriCorps VISTA alumni and has been a community advocate and volunteer for over 20 years for the low-income and disadvantaged people of Polk County.
New Client Representatives

Join NLADA Civil Council
NLADA welcomes two new Client Representatives to our Civil Council, Mr. Larry E. Carlton and Ms. Leonor Cortez.   
Ms. Cortez is the former VP of Birth-to-Five Head Starts' Policy Council and a community activist who has served on NLADA's Latino Section for 9 years. She represents Regions V and VI.
LaShung Willis
Ronald Simpson-Bey
Suzanne Small
Upcoming NLADA Events - SAVE THE DATE!