Lori James-Townes is the Director of Social Work, Leadership & Program Development for the Maryland Office of Public Defenders; where she supervises, oversees, and plans all of social work services. The social workers and interns provide litigation support and forensic services to every division throughout the agency. Mrs. James-Townes has developed a model-defense-based social work program; which has become a national model for other public defender agencies. She is responsible for the oversight development, implementation and evaluation of statewide professional development initiatives that foster the formation of leadership skills among agency staff. In this role, she serves the critical role of providing additional skills by training and supporting the broader concept of Leadership in each OPD office. She also designed an innovative intern orientation program. She supports the growth and development of attorneys and support staff through leadership development and internal consultation. Mrs. James-Townes has 20 years of leadership and management experience in the juvenile and criminal justice systems and 18 years of program consultation and training experience. She is the current Chair of National Alliance of Sentencing Advocates and Mitigation Specialist (NASAMS), Executive Committee. She is a past member of the NLADA’s Board of Directors. As a private mitigation expert she provides forensic services, expert testimony, consultation, and clinical trainings. Her career in the criminal justice field has been extensive. She has worked as an expert on cases in both state and federal jurisdictions. The Daily Record Newspaper recently named her as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and the Alumni on the Move Award was bestowed upon her by Morgan State University School of Social Work (March 2015). In 2012 she was honored by Morgan State University when she received The Presidential Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements and accomplishments. She has been honored by NLADA’s leadership in naming her one of their National Gideon’s Heroes and again with the Mitigation Life Time Achievement Award. In 2002, the Alumni Association of University of MD School of Social Work named her Alumni of the Decade (90’s). Mrs. James-Townes received her Bachelors (Morgan State University) and Master’s Degrees (University of Maryland) in clinical Social Work. She completed her full academic studies for her PhD in Public Health (Morgan State University). She is currently studying for her Doctor of Divinity at United Theological Seminary School. She resides in Maryland with her daughter Maya.