Membership Benefits

The National Association for Public Defense is an inclusive and collaborative grassroots movement of public defense professionals dedicated to bringing meaningful access to justice for poor people. Please download our summary of membership benefits HERE. You can view a complete list of all NAPD webinars (almost 150!) that are accessible to memebrs in our Webinar Archive HERE.

Stronger Together

NAPD pools the intellectual capital of our members by compiling practical, relevant resources and bringing local justice issues to the national stage. Member benefits include:

  • Articles - NAPD articles chronicle experiences, legal developments, news stories, challenges, and successes in the field, providing insight into both the common goals and the diverse circumstances of public defense work.
  • Leadership Education - NAPD organizes annial conferences on workloads, leadership and trial skills.
  • Webinars - NAPD hosts webinars almost weekly, and has more than 100 webinars in its archive on MyGideon. Topics innclude: “Internet Secrets and Social Media Intelligence Revealed”; “Using Mental Illness to Get a Jury to Not Guilty”; “Cross–Examination of a Complainant in a Sex Case”; “Defending Confession Cases”; Spotting & Challenging Prosecutorial Misconduct”; and, “Language Impairments.”
  • MyGideon - MyGideon is NAPD's library of public defense resources and information, continuously curated for quality and recency. All past webinars and hundreds of other training videos are archived on MyGideon. The resources at MyGideon grow daily.

The Voice for Public Defense

NAPD works with local offices and national partners in order to set and focus the national public defense agenda. Activities include:

  • Amicus Briefs - NAPD stands ready to join other organizations in attacking injustice by filing amicus briefs to support diverse justice reforms.
  • Ethics and Policy Papers - NAPD tackles diverse issues through published ethics opinions and policy papers.
  • Fines & Fees Advocacy - NAPD promotes advocacy resources and systemic reform recommendations to ensure that indigent defendants are not assessed cripping criminal justice debt that threaten their rights, illegally restrict their liberty and subjugate entire communities - disproportionately communities of color.
  • IT Support - NAPD provides guidance on case management systems, data/database development, and related technology for organizations that lack IT support staff.
  • Juvenile Justice - NAPD works to ensure that juvenile defense is supported and resourced by the national defense community.
  • Public Education and Outreach - NAPD creates resources, recruits communications assistance and provides direct support to members to promote public defense values.
  • Strike Force - NAPD mentors, shares resources, and lends NAPD support to local jurisdictions when zealous advocacy leads to risk or sanction.
  • Workload Advocacy - NAPD is developing resources, analyzing data, creating workload standards, and supporting offices litigating excessive workloads.
  • Systems Builders - NAPD lends tailored support to systems undergoing structural, financial or leadership transitions, including Board and/or Commission training.

Join Us

The substantive work of NAPD is undertaken by our volunteer members – the public defense experts. Annual individual membership is $25; organizational membership (when joining all organization advocates) is $20/person. NAPD currently has more than 100 member organizations and nearly 14,000 members across all fifty states.


April 16, 2017: 60 Minutes' Anderson Cooper features the Orleans Public Defenders and NAPD General Counsel in a substantive segment about public defenders' excessive workloads, pervasive injustice, and the obligation of defenders to resist the "conveyer belt" of mass-incarceration. You can watch the compelling segment HERE 

On March 18, 2017 - the 54th anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainright decision - NAPD published its Foundational Principleswhich are recommended to NAPD members and other persons and organizations interested in advancing the cause of equal justice for accused persons.  


On March 2, 2017, NAPD released its Statement on Reducing Demand For Public Defense: Alternatives to Traditional Prosecution Can Reduce Defender Workload, Save Money, and Reduce RecidivismThere are more than 2 million people in jail and prison in the United States. This is a four-fold increase since 1980. This increase and the racial disproportionality among incarcerated people has led to alliances across the political spectrum to address the impact on people and on budgets.  As the new Coalition for Public Safety has put it, “Our country has an ‘overcriminalization’ problem and an ‘overincarceration’ problem — and it’s getting worse." NAPD authored this statement because there is a great opportunity to make transformative changes that can improve justice and save money.  A variety of organizations representing a wide spectrum of political views have joined together to end the systematic problem of overcriminalization and narrow the net of incarceration by reforming criminal codes.