On June 3, 2019, the NAPD Fund for Justice, Inc. Board of Directors inducted Norman Lefstein into the NAPD Fund for Justice Public Defense Hall of Fame.

The NAPD Fund for Justice Public Defense Hall of Fame recognizes men and women like Norm who have devoted a lifetime of creative leadership that advanced the right to counsel in a systematic way. It honors someone whose life, amidst struggles and setbacks, is a resilient, hopeful marathon of fierce and creative advocacy.

Based on Norm’s lifetime of dedicated work, he is widely and appropriately regarded the architect of the modern indigent defense reform movement. He will always be remembered for his prodigious work. This visionary effort is his enduring national legacy.

Creative Advocacy Grant(s)

Throughout the country, oppressed communities benefit from the courageous, innovative, and creative advocacy and leadership by public defenders. The NAPD Fund for Justice Creative Advocacy Grant was created in April 2019 to provide them support and encouragement. One or more Creative Advocacy Grants will be awarded annually to public defender organizations that demonstrate public value through community engagement on an issue critical to client advocacy. Issues may include: an educational campaign; public policy initiative regarding criminal justice reform; public defense independence; workload advocacy. Depending on the substance of the grant request, members of the National Association for Public Defense Communicators, Workload or System Builders Committees will make up part of the award review committee, and will support the approved work in ways identified with the grantee. The NAPD Fund for Justice, Inc. board of directors will review the nominated initiatives and make award(s) in December each year.

Into the future, a host of Public Defense Creative Advocacy grants will be awarded in Norman Lefstein’s name. The initiatives are made in the spirit of the Public Defense Hall of Fame members, each of whom provided client-centered creative advocacy that had significant benefit to public defense systems.

To apply for a grant or make a donation, see:  https://fundforjustice.org/creative-advocacy-grant/

Here is our tribute to Norm:

Norman Lefstein is an inaugural Member of the NAPD Fund for Justice, Inc. Board of Directors, and a Special Advisor to the National Association for Public Defense Steering Committee. He was inducted into the NAPD Fund for Justice Public Defense Hall of Fame on June 3, 2019. He is widely regarded as the architect of the modern indigent defense reform movement. His lifetime of dedication to the work of public defense is unquestionable. He always will be remembered for that prodigious work. His visionary effort is his enduring legacy. Norm is Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, Indiana. He was Dean from 1988 until 2002. Previously, Professor Lefstein was for 12 years a faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill. He also has held visiting or adjunct appointments at the law schools of Duke, Northwestern, and Georgetown. His other positions have included service as Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, an Assistant United States Attorney in D.C., and as a staff member of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice. Earlier in his career, he was in private practice in a law firm and directed a large-scale Ford Foundation research project in which legal representation was furnished to juveniles in three metropolitan cities. Norm’s body of work speaks volumes. He was the reporter for the ABA Eight Guidelines of Public Defense Related to Excessive Defender Workloads, approved by the American Bar Association (2009). Norm ‘s American Bar Association published book, Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense (2011) is the seminal work on defender workloads. As former Federal Judge and FBI Director William S. Sessions said, “The book serves as an insistent wake-up call for all of us, particularly for lawyers and judges who have taken an oath that we will never reject or ignore the causes of the oppressed or defenseless.” In this book, Norm said, “…I am optimistic about the future.” And well he should be because of the path forward he has laid out for us. Norm’s  professional activities include serving as Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Criminal Justice; as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID); as chair of SCLAID’s Indigent Defense Advisory Group; and as Chief Consultant to a Subcommittee on Federal Death Penalty Cases of the Judicial Conference of the United States. For seventeen years, Professor Lefstein chaired the Indiana Public Defender Commission to which he was appointed by Indiana Governors. He also has frequently been an expert witness in proceedings concerned with professional ethics and/or defense representation. Professor Lefstein was a member and co-reporter for the National Right to Counsel Committee, organized by The Constitution Project and the National Legal and Defender Association. In this capacity, he played a major role in writing Justice Denied: America’s Continuing Neglect of Our Constitutional Right to Counsel (2009). During the 1970’s, Professor Lefstein served as Reporter for the Second Edition of ABA Criminal Justice Standards Relating to The Prosecution Function, The Defense Function, Providing Defense Services, and Pleas of Guilty. In 1982, Professor Lefstein wrote Criminal Defense Services for the Poor: Methods and Programs for Providing Legal Representation and the Need for Adequate Financing, sponsored by ABA SCLAID; and in 2004, he co-authored Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Continuing Quest for Equal Justice, also an ABA SCLAID publication. His law review articles concerned with indigent defense include an extensive study comparing public defense in the United States with criminal legal aid in the United Kingdom.