Client Council

Message from the Chair

2021 Holistic Defense & Leadership Conference Registration

LSC Updates

Clients and Leaders Doing Work in the Community
  • Danielle Johnson
  • Shawntelle Fisher
  • Catherine Harris

Article on Smishing

Remembering Theron McNeil

Poetic Justice Corner

Member Resource Center

2020 Virtual Annual Conference and Holistic Defense Leadership Conference Highlights

Upcoming NLADA Events
Ronald Simpson-Bey, Acting Chair, Client Council & NLADA Board of Directors Member

Rosita Stanley, Vice Chair, NLADA Board of Directors

Larry Carlton

Leonor Cortez

Liza Merrill

Suzanne Small

LaShung Willis

Marquita Wise-Jones
Message From the Chair
I am Ronald Simpson-Bey, your new Acting Chair for the Client Council. I thank the NLADA Board of Directors for their support and for this wonderful opportunity as I look forward to the honor of serving the Client Community. I would like to extend sincere thanks and gratitude to the outgoing Chair, Shawntelle Fisher, for her vision, and leadership in the position. We wish her nothing but the best of success as she transitions into new responsibilities and opportunities.

During my tenure as Chairperson it is my intention to educate, elevate and empower the Client Community to be more effective advocates and to have an effective voice at the policy making tables that affect them, their communities, and their lives. Your support and assistance in this endeavor is much appreciated.

Warm wishes,
Ronald Simpson-Bey

Client Member Rates = FREE!
Client members can join us for FREE at the Holistic Defense & Leadership Conference

Client-eligible individuals who are not members but would like to join NLADA should check our membership page or email membership@nlada.org. Client membership dues are only $20 per year.
LSC Updates
By: Julie Reiskin
Hello NLADA Friends:

I want to honor all of you for your resiliency getting through this last year. I know that despite being hard hit by the pandemic, facing your own health and economic issues, that you got the vote out, got people to take the census, shared accurate information about COVID-19, and kept helping your communities in any way possible.  Without folks like you our world would be such a poorer place.
I wanted to update you on some LSC issues: There is a lot going on. 

1)     Our strategic plan is out for comment and comments are due April 1. If you want me to send you the plan, please email me at jreiskin@ccdconline.org and I can either take comments verbally or you can send written comments through the system.   I really want to make sure there is client input. 

2)     Our April LSC Board meeting will be remote on the 19th and 20th so the week before (April 12th) I will host my quarterly meeting for clients to hear what is going on in your community and share any agenda items I know of that are of interest to get your input. It will be at 5 PM MST (7 PM Easter, 6 PM Central, 4 PM pacific) https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87152905171 Meeting ID: 871 5290 5171 One tap mobile +13462487799,,87152905171# US (Houston) +14086380968,,87152905171# US (San Jose)

3)     The Veterans Task Force will issue their report at a virtual event on May 25th from 1:00-2:30 EST. We would love client involvement at this event especially those of you who are veterans or from affected families.

4)      LSC has started a housing task force and I am co-chairing it along with Frank Neuner who is a board member from Louisiana.   We will be focusing on eviction issues not covered in the LSC eviction study also going on such as so called “informal evictions” (where they put you out without evicting you -for example by non-renewal); issues with mobile home parks such as management abuse, and foreclosures. Like everyone, we are worried about what is going to happen when the moratoria ends but we also know that not everyone has been honoring the moratorium.   Stay tuned for meeting announcements (we have not yet kicked it off) and notices for subcommittees. We will need your input throughout the process.

Finally, I want to let you know you can reach out to me with questions or concerns. I appreciate those of you that have done so and always try to be responsive and get others to respond as well.  I hope all of you have gotten vaccinations or are scheduled to get them soon.   I cannot wait until we can be together again for real.   We need to stay vigilant in our demands that we NOT go back to the way things were because there was so much inequity in the way things were but instead, we need to emerge from these times stronger and with a renewed and laser strong focus on equity.   I am honored to be in community with so many great leaders in this journey towards real justice for all. 
Clients and Leaders Alike Doing Work in the Community
‘White, white, white. Then there’s me.’ A Black lawyer shares her experiences - The Boston Globe
In an article by The Boston Globe, Greater Boston Legal Services staff attorney Danielle Johnson tells her story of being an African American lawyer in the courthouse. In it, she describes the visual dichotomy of race in the courtroom, and the implicit biases she faces from others – clients and colleagues alike – and how she attempts to subvert this prejudice while succeeding in her profession.

St. Louis' 2020 Most Influential Businesswomen
Shawntelle Fisher was the Chair of NLADA’s Client Council and one of 2020’s most influential businesswomen. As Founder of The SoulFisher Ministries, Shawntelle and her organization work to advocate for youth with incarcerated parents and incarcerated women. In an interview with the St. Louis Business Journal, Shawntelle discusses her accomplishments and mentors, reflects on past challenges and COVID-19, and shares some advice she’s gained throughout her journey.

Advocating for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG)
Catherine Harris, also known as “Grandmother Love” is the architect behind Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG), a forum which advocates for low-income families in need of legal services in Massachusetts. The forum was created to educate and empower all grandparents raising grandchildren to share their unique challenges regarding mental health, healing closure, and to improve legislation with community leaders, stakeholders, and policy makers. Since its creation, Ms. Harris has expanded GRG to include Specialized Support services, which provide information on housing, adoption, and unemployment to people in need. In addition to GRG, Ms. Harris is also working on other advocacy projects, such as her L-Jeeem Magnificent Action Association, Recovery Legislation Justice Foundation, and the Rome’a Jewelry Foundation.
Last year during the month of September (which is National Grandparents Celebration Month), GRG celebrated what Ms. Harris calls the “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Lives Matter Movement” during which jewelry, photo albums, t-shirts, flowers, and baked goods were sold to fund the forum’s work for underserved families.

In terms of political activity, Ms. Harris recently met with Massachusetts State Senator Edward John Markey, with whom she discussed the goals of GRG. In this meeting, Ms. Harris argued for Senator Markey’s support of her Specialized Support program, as well as a pilot program to aid young homeless people in MA (18-30 years old) suffering from mental illness. She also emphasized the importance of immigration and economic reform policies. Ms. Harris is drawn to this noble work through her faith, which plays an important role in her daily life. She believes that God has a plan for her advocacy, stating proudly that “God is not through with me yet!”
By: Sue Lau of Orange County, CA
Cybersecurity Sagacity
If you send or receive text messages, beware of smishing. Smishing is SMS phishing. SMS stands for Short Message Service and is the most common type of text messaging, which involves a message up to 160 characters to another electronic device. Longer messages are normally split into multiple messages called MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service.

Smishing is when scammers send text (SMS and/or MMS) messages to persuade people, (like clients and client advocates, etc.,), to provide personal information by posing as a friend or family who was just robbed, bank staff, Social Security Administration, the IRS or other financial service employees to immediately send money or to click on suspicious links.
For example, a text message could say that your debit card has been deactivated and provide instructions for you to immediately click on a link or call a toll-free telephone number that’s different from your bank’s regular customer service phone number. If it’s a phone number that you don’t regularly call, it’s best to contact your bank via the regular phone number(s) that you’ve used to verify the text message’s toll-free number. The suspicious text message could have been sent by a smisher.
Smishing is a new take on an old trick to defraud text message users and is becoming increasingly widespread.

There are some key steps that you can take to protect yourself against this kind of criminal activity and scam:
•       Don’t send sensitive, personal information in response to any strange text message;
•       Don’t download and install any software sent to you via a text message;
•       If in doubt of a text message, call the company directly to verify the authenticity of the text;
•       Don’t call any number that you don’t recognize. It’s best to ignore the message and/or to block the phone number from where the text came;
•       Don’t click on unknown links in text messages. It’s best to delete the text if its suspicious;
•       Don’t enter any information after tapping a link in suspicious text message; and
•       Don’t respond, even if the text message requests that you “text STOP” to end receiving a message from a suspicious source.

For more information about how to block texts from scammers, there are a number of resources that include https://www.howtogeek.com/526115/what-is-smishing-and-how-do-you-protect-yourself/. You can also  install anti-virus software on your phone. Here is a “top 10 list” https://www.antivirussoftwareguide.com/free-antivirus-software.

Cybercriminals use smishing to obtain personally identifiable information and to steal identities by infecting your smartphone through texts or SMS messages that come in the forms of viruses, spyware, adware or ransomeware. If you find that any configuration changes to your smartphone that you didn’t make, this is a clue that you’ve been hacked. Someone can hack your phone just by texting you. Just be careful about divulging any sensitive, personal information. Always beware of smishing!
- SL0915 –
Remembering Our Client Leader and Friend
It is with a heavy heart that we share with you that our friend, colleague, former NLADA Board, Civil and Client Council Member, and Nevada Legal Services Board Member, Mr. Theron McNeil, passed away on Monday, March 15, 2021. The loss of Theron will be deeply felt by many of us. His conciliatory presence was always a source of comfort and encouragement and he had a tremendous impact on everyone who got to know him. We will especially miss his big-hearted laugh and his warm smile.
May the memory of Theron McNeil’s wonderful personality and his many contributions live long and be celebrated for many years to come.
Rest Easy, Theron! April 27, 1944 – March 15, 2021
Poetic Justice Corner
Here, today!!
We will not back down.
Standing firm!
Making a change
Social Justice, Racial Equity!
These are the people’s demands,
A million times over,
We continue our chant.

Hear our shouts!
We know what’s right.
Black Lives are at hand!
People know...
We bond together
Making strides.
We advocate,
We rock the vote!
We demonstrate,
By all demands,
Change now!
A leader who stands by the people.

Change, Now!   
Written 2020
By: Suzanne Small
Positive impacts on our youth.
Schools are funded.
Healthcare is affordable to all.
Mental health a priority!
No more police brutality.
Education, we focus 
Our economy must flourish.
Everyone has a seat at the table.
No one regarded as inadequate
This is the present nature.
Our world demands a stance.
This is the time
No longer living in the past.
Time is now,
Fight for change
The progress we make,
Positive change,
All people are equal
There is no other way.
Speak our truth!
Embrace with understanding
Learn to love one another
Change happens
Change now,
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 DefendantsAssociation of Pro Bono CounselLegal Services Corporation (LSC), Management Information Exchange (MIE), Pro Bono InstituteShriver Center on Poverty LawVoices 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 Acting Chair, Ronald Simpson-Bey 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, or FREE registrations when offered.
2020 Post Conference Chatter
We missed being able to interact in person last year for our NLADA events, and although going virtual was new for us, based on the post-conference chatter, it was a great time had by all. It is our hope and wish to be able to be in person for a portion of our 2021 events which you'll find under the Save The Date section.
"Greatness for the first day of the conference! My workshops were very informative!”

“The presentation session with President of LSC was great as well and very informative.”

“Every time I attended a session it was invigorating, meaningful, and quite informative. Each Speaker shared passion and that’s the most noteworthy.”

Answering the question if you could do one thing from the 2020 NLADA Conference you would… “To continue to fight for racial justice and strongly use data to dismantle institutional and systemic racism, ALL MEANS ALL, especially for our Black community. Second, I will continue to lead and model by the examples shown Like SHAWNTELLE and others as a client board member be inclusive and candid about the issues and provide solutions through means of collaboration partnering strategic and action plan. Reminding ALL clients are the center.”
“Fantastic experience.”

“This virtual conference connected me back into the past and I was easily able to connect. All of my workshops were very informative with growth opportunities. Felt like I was actually in person at some point. I needed the atmosphere because of my new norm of learning. Congratulations to all the staff at NLADA and the Whova APP. A fantastic job well done. My signature of appreciation.”, “Our connections during the conference were super.”


“Excellent work around the country as always. NLADA members fight with the heart of a Lion! Survey the situation before you attack! Thank you for another great training. I put NLADA Staff up against anyone when it comes to getting it down right!”

"A fantastic virtual conference- so well organized and wonderful panels throughout. You are invaluable to our community.”
“Thanks, NLADA, for all your amazing work that engages communities from across the country in the most meaningful work of equal justice!!! Rock on!!”

“Such a fantastic virtual conference that allowed us to gather and connect from afar.”

"We value you and treasure what you always provide to us as we all work to do justice for those we serve.”

“Thank you for the opportunity to be empowered, inspired and motivated, even in the midst of the health pandemic and cultural pandemic!!! Like minds make transformative change for all!!!”

“Well it goes to show you! NLADA’s fertile roots in access to justice cannot be stopped by a pandemic or any other demic. The staff has put together a wonderful learning experience despite the challenges of the current day. I am sure I speak for many when I say Thank You.”
"Thank you! Thank you for all your extreme efforts for putting together such a fantastic conference in dire times, and presenting such an atmosphere of learning and healing to enrich our souls. Here’s with my deepest appreciation.”

“Excellent conference, great advocacy sessions, outstanding organizing!”

“Just when I was feeling at a breaking point, I got a breakthrough by being here with all of you! Thanks, NLADA for all of your efforts to lead us All to the LIGHT in planning and executing a wonderful learning experience filled with so much creativity that has created more memorable fun times.”

“Well done, I give a standing ovation for such a great virtual conference. Thanks, I sure it was lots of hard work. Take a break, breath and relax.”

“This conference gives me the nourishment to know that there are many warrior brothers and sisters out there.”

“The conference is awesome and fun too!”

“Hello everyone, truly enjoyed the past three days of the conference. My hand is tired from taking notes.”

“Thanks to NLADA and its partners, I’m empowered to speak the truth to power! I’m excited to share all that I’ve learned along with resources with my Client Board. I hope to inspire us to ‘RESIST. PERSIST. INSIST!”

“The conference has exceeded my expectations. Impressive!”

“Aside from the Amazing NLADA Staff, Sponsors, and other Partners along with this year’s attendees, WHOVA made it worthwhile investment to attend this year’s virtual conference. I’m grateful for this opportunity and will cherish the memories. Hope to return next year.”

“Thank you for making this happen and for doing it in such a way that we feel (or at least I feel) a sense of togetherness. And of course, thank you for all the valuable information!”
“I want to add my thanks to the entire NLADA staff for all that you have done and are doing to put on the Conference in such a new and challenging way and for all that you do each year and always to support and help improve the work your friends and colleagues do in the field. You are the best. Thank you.”

“The Jazz session was great, classy, and relaxing.”

“My first virtual conference was more than I could imagine it would be. Met some of the most inspirational folks. Regenerated my soul and my spirit, needed that. Glad to have shared it with my client board members! To my client board members, WE ARE ONE!!!!!!!”

“These sessions have been amazing”

“Huge shout out and much gratitude to NLADA staff—we are so lucky to have you connecting and supporting our community! We are so much stronger because of all you do!”
Missed the 2020 Holistic Defense & Leadership Conference? Here is what Suzanne Small has to say about her experience
I attended the 2020 Virtual Holistic Defense Leadership Conference. It was a platform for learning and I really enjoyed the workshops. On the Community Oriented Defender Network Day, I attended the Re-Entry and Giving-Back workshops.

The Re-Entry workshop was facilitated by Halbert Sullivan, Ronald Simpson-Bey, and Darren Seales. I learned a lot about those who are taking an opportunity at a second chance at life. They are reintegrating back into society and becoming role models for those who may follow a similar journey to theirs. The panelists talked about their life work to help ensure those that are beginning their re-entry program that there are resources they can access. If a person can take advantage of these resources, it can have a huge impact on their lives.

Halbert Sullivan works mainly with fathers in the system. He is the founder and CEO of the Father and Families Support Center. He recognizes that children flourish more when they have both parents in their lives. So, his organization works with men who need support to help them make a difference and be involved in their child’s life.

Ronald Simpson-Bey, Director of Outreach and Alumni Engagement for Just Leadership USA, focuses on providing opportunities for youth and seeks to eliminate community barriers to employment.  
Darren Seales, from the Fathers and Families Support Center, graduated from Halbert Sullivan’s program and is now assisting him help others going through the program.
The facilitators have had experience within the criminal justice system. They all agree that the start of a successful re-entry program begins with obtaining funding and building partnerships with structural legislators. Many services such as job training, educational supports, mental health and wellness supports, youth building and community resources are needed.

One of the initiatives that was addressed during the workshop was “ban the box.” This is when an employer considers job candidates qualifications first without the stigma of a conviction or an arrest record. Ban the box removes certain questions from the job application like the applicant’s conviction history. It also delays background checks until later on in the hiring process. Another important reference was to partnerships through Best Practice. This can be achieved by moving forward, being vocal, reaching out, mentoring, and support.

The next workshop I attended was during the Black Public Defenders Association section of the Conference. The title was “Dismantling Structural Racism and White Supremacy Through Systems Change.” A dynamic panel addressed the topic. The panelists were Porsha-Shaf’on Venable (Staff Attorney, The Bronx Defenders), Erin Miles Cloud (Co-Founder & Co-Director, Movement for Family Power), David Singleton (Executive Director, Ohio Justice & Policy Center), Patrice Jones (Founding Attorney, Still She Rises), and Leonard Noisette (Director of U.S. Program’s Justice Team, Open Society Institute). It was an engaging conversation with well-versed panelists. They expressed their feelings about how the population they serve is impacted by the trauma in an unjust society. They explored the staggering amount of police brutality on black lives and the healing that needs to occur. There needs to be a change within the system, which is a biased one. This system perpetuates unfairness based on race. People need to be held accountable.
Initiatives like defunding the police were discussed in the Giving-Back workshop. By taking away resources from the institutions that cause harm, funds can be directed back into the community.  If the police budget is cut, the money can be put towards schools, social work agencies, and community service. It would help take away the imbalance of power that is held in the current system. The basic needs of the community should be met and resources should be spread out to those most vulnerable in our society. Also, police should be held accountable for their actions.  
This workshop provided a lot of material about how to change the misuse of power and how to enact fairness in the system. Overall, I really enjoyed the conference, and would recommend it to my colleagues.

This years Holistic Defense & Leadership Conference is from June 14 to the 18, 2021!
2021 NLADA Events - SAVE THE DATE!
Registration is NOW OPEN for the 2021 Equal Justice Conference. Click here to learn more and register.

Join us online this June 14-18 for the Holistic Defense & Leadership Conferences. Our theme will be Reckon & Rise. Stay tuned for more information regarding this event including registration information, featured speakers and conference session information.

2021 Litigation & Advocacy Leaders Conference The 2021 Litigation & Advocacy Leaders Conference will take place in July. Stay tuned for more information regarding dates and registration!

Nashville, Tennessee
The 2021 NLADA Annual Conference will take place November 10-13 in Nashville, Tennessee. Stay tuned for updates.

Nashville, Tennessee
The 2021 National Farmworker Law Conference will take place on November 10-13 in Nashville, Tennessee. ​Stay tuned for updates regarding this conference.