Programming Areas

Workshop proposals should be developed around the following ideas. We also encourage interactive formats that capture the expertise and perspectives of audience members as well as panelists.

Board Workshops & Training Topics

Successful nonprofits are indispensable to their communities’ health and well-being. They have credibility with the people they serve and can articulate their values and the value they provide. We invite workshop proposals that showcase and train others on how board members of successful nonprofits:

  • act with transparency
  • support and clarify the organization’s vision
  • use their influence and expertise to help staff achieve greater impact
  • bring diversity and inclusion to the board as a means to greater effectiveness
  • evaluate both their effectiveness as the governing body and the effectiveness of organizational strategy
  • put into place succession plans for board members and senior staff

Proposals for board workshops should focus on the knowledge, vision, leadership skills, and evaluative tools necessary for board members to increase community impact.

Civil Legal Aid Workshops & Training Topics

The benefits from civil legal aid cover a remarkably broad range of topics, all of which advance equal justice. To help advocates provide even more effective services during particularly challenging times, proposals for this year’s conference may highlight:

  • effective models for corporate engagement with legal aid
  • using racial equity analysis to inform advocacy and effect change
  • community and client engagement and empowerment
  • realistic, productive, and fair legal representation for immigrant populations
  • human trafficking, labor, and other human rights issues
  • using data and new technologies to increase effectiveness
  • substantive strategic advocacy sessions and/or measuring their impact
  • managing potential reductions in significant sources of funding
  • better ways to tell our success stories and showcase our work for equal justice
  • resources for civil legal aid and legal aid attorneys
  • addressing the impact of student debt on staff, clients, and the delivery of services
  • burning issues – new and evolving issues facing our clients, organizations, and communities this year

Events of recent years have created a particular interest in issues that cut across the field of legal aid. We are particularly interested in proposals that address:

  • systemic racial injustice in policing, access to courts, court fees, community investment, and more as we reflect on increasingly visible racialized violence and the advocacy and movements emerging in response
  • balancing religious, speech, and other core constitutional freedoms with evolving community standards
  • economic justice and the “criminalization of poverty"
  • mentoring and developing new leadership for the next generation of legal aid advocates

Client Workshops & Training Topics

People who have been served by legal aid organizations contribute to success in their communities through service, advocacy, effective communication, collaboration, and leadership. Proposals for workshops in this category may include client leadership training, effective lay advocacy skills, communications skills training, and examples of the contributions of client leaders in their communities. Every session proposal should include at least one client leader in the development and execution of the session.

Fundraising Workshops & Training Topics

Both new and experienced development staff look for tools to create, cultivate, and sustain their organizations’ fundraising programs. Session proposals can range from the nuts and bolts of development work and relationship building to the best social media platforms to reach donors. In the difficult and competitive arena of fundraising, development staff must ensure that they have gathered all the “low-hanging fruit,” but they must also engage new strategies that attract competitive, non-traditional, and more diversified funding opportunities.

Public Defense Workshops & Training Topics

Defenders are champions of justice, employing proven and innovative tactics, tools, and technologies to ensure excellence in client representation and bring attention to the critical importance of quality public defense. We encourage proposals for interactive workshops that provide attendees with checklists, reports, best practices, and other tangible resources that allow attendees to put their learnings into practice. We welcome proposals covering the full range of topics and issues important to defenders, and we are particularly interested in proposals related to:

  • community-oriented defense and holistic representation
  • interdisciplinary and cross-sector collaborations to improve public defense
  • defender participation in policy reform
  • municipal and misdemeanor defense
  • procedural justice
  • early entry of counsel & pretrial/bail reform
  • defender-led data collection & research efforts
  • innovative funding models for public defense

Joint/Multi Track

Some of our workshops will address topics that are of interest to more than one of the above categories or are generally applicable to many audiences, including communications, risk management, and technology. Proposals should indicate all programming areas that apply.

Submit a Proposal

Once you are ready to begin your proposal, go to the "My Account" page to log in or create a user profile if you have not used this system in the past. After you log in, click on the "Create Session" link on the right side of the page to get started. After you complete all the required fields, scroll to the bottom of the form and click the "Save" button to submit your proposal. After you create your proposal, you may click on the "Add Presenter" link to create profiles for your presenters and attach them to the session. To edit a proposal you've already submitted, click on "View Submissions," click on the title of the session you want to edit, and then, on the next screen, choose the "edit" tab to make changes to your proposal. Be sure to click the "Save" button at the bottom of the form to save your changes.

Proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 2, 2017. If your proposal is chosen, as session leader you will be responsible for submitting additional workshop information, including a final title, description, and presenter bios by August 31, 2017.