State of the South Conference

state-of-south1Save the Date for next year’s State of the South conference Feb. 7-8, 2019!

The first State of the South conference and opening reception were held Feb. 22-23 at Georgia State Law. We hosted panelists from across the Southeast and had more than 130 registrants for the conference and 90 R.S.V.P.s for the opening reception – with attendees hailing from 12 states.

State of the South

  • Save the Date:
    • Opening Reception:
      Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019
    • Conference: Friday, Feb. 8, 2019

The center’s inaugural State of the South Conference, held at the College of Law in partnership with the ABA’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, explored the intersection between the civil and criminal justice systems and how practitioners operating in each system approach that overlap.

With guidance from panelists engaged in bridging the civil-criminal divide in states across the South, conference participants heard about different approaches to holistic legal services and how the failure to address clients’ full range of legal needs may have both individual and systemic implications.



Keynote Speaker

jo-annwallaceThe 2018 keynote speaker was Jo-Ann Wallace, president and CEO of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA). Wallace has dedicated her career to advancing equal justice. Prior to becoming president and CEO, she oversaw both the civil legal aid and public defense program agendas at NLADA. She is a founder of the American Council of Chief Defenders, a leadership council of the top defender executives across the country, and helped establish the National Defender Leadership Institute and the Equal Justice Leadership Initiative for legal aid advocates. She also spent 14 years at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. President Obama recognized Wallace as a “Champion of Change.”

8:30-9 a.m. Continental Breakfast
9-9:15 a.m.  Opening Remarks: Wendy Hensel, dean and professor of law, Georgia State Law
9:15-10:30 a.m Panel 1: Insights from Civil Providers
10:30-10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m.-Noon  Panel 2: Lessons from Criminal Practice
 Noon-1:15 p.m.  Lunch, with Keynote Address at 12:30 p.m.
1:15-1:30 p.m. Break
1:30-2:45 p.m.   Panel 3: A Local Approach – Research Regarding the Civil Legal Needs of Indigent Criminal Defendants
 2:45-3 p.m.   Break
3-4 p.m.   Working Groups
4-4:15 p.m. Closing Remarks: Mark Stephens, public defender, Knox County, Tennessee

Download the Agenda>>

  • Angela Ciolfi, Director of Litigation and  Advocacy, Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Naomi Tsu, Deputy Legal Director, Immigrant Justice Project, Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Jamie Perez, Project Director, Safe and Stable Families, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
  • Moderator: Nancy DeVetter (J.D. ’08), Staff Attorney, Georgia Legal Services Program

  • Sarah Buchanan, Director of Social Services, Knox County Defenders
  • Michael-John Voss, Co-Founder & Director of Operations, ArchCity Defenders
  • Steven Teske, Chief Judge of the Juvenile Court of Clayton County, Georgia
  • Allison Gibbs, Director, Programs & Operations, Just City
  • Moderator: Doug Ammar, Executive Director, Georgia Justice Project

  • Lauren Sudeall Lucas, Faculty Director, Center for Access to Justice
  • Ruth Richardson, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, Georgia State University
  • Kelly Prejean, social worker, Fulton County Public Defender's Office
  • Vernon Pitts, Circuit Public Defender, Fulton County, Georgia
  • Claudia Saari, Circuit Public Defender, DeKalb County, Georgia
  • Susan Goico, Staff Attorney, Atlanta Legal Aid Society

The conference was approved for 3.8 credits of general CLE in Georgia. We did not seek pre-approval for other states but will provide documentation of your attendance if you would like to self-report.
The opening reception and conference will take place at Georgia State University College of Law, 85 Park Place NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Visitor Parking and Directions

Georgia State University's College of Law is located at 85 Park Place NE, at the corner of John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and Park Place in downtown Atlanta. Directions to Georgia State Law and information about alternative parking options can be found here>>.

Please note that parking downtown can be complicated. We encourage you to leave enough time to find parking, as lots can fill up. If you are able, you may wish to take MARTA. Travel to the Peachtree Center Station on the North/South rapid rail line. Look for the Ellis Street exit in the station. Go up those escalators then take the Peachtree Street West exit out of the station. Turn right. The college is less than a block from the station at the corner of John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and Park Place, next door to the Georgia-Pacific Center.

For directions and parking information on the day of the event, the College of Law front desk at 404-413-9000.

Hotel Accommodations

We have reserved a conference room block at The Ellis Hotel, 176 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, just blocks from the College of Law. Space is limited, and the rate is $149 a night plus taxes and fees.

Thank You to Red Beard Restaurants and Our Sponsors
ga-pacific-blue-stacked-new-2016  baker-donelson-red-logo_stacked
ab-stacked-logo-black kilpatrick The Cochran Firm

Davis Bozeman
Eversheds Sutherland
Jones Day
Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial