This year’s conference includes a special focus on Racial Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion Programming. Workshops that will address this overarching theme include [RJ] after the session title.
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Thursday, November 1 • 8:30am - 10:00am
Opening Plenary Session

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Join us for a keynote address from Harris County, Texas, Commissioner Rodney Ellis. During his career in public service, Commissioner Ellis has worked hard to ensure that children have equal access to a quality education, regardless of where they reside. He also has spearheaded legislation to provide employees with a safe workplace, access to affordable health care, and a living wage. In criminal justice, he has fought for reforms that guarantee equal treatment for everyone under the law. It’s his cardinal belief that guilt and innocence must never be dependent on one’s income, gender, race, or ethnicity.

We will also hear from NLADA Board Member and Chair of the NLADA Corporate Advisory Committee Max Laun. Max is the vice president and general counsel of Arconic, and he will address the value of public-private partnerships.

We will also present the NLADA Award for Justice through Philanthropy to The Kresge Foundation. The Kresge Foundation’s longtime and unwavering support for innovative solutions, like the Justice for All Project, collaborative models like medical-legal partnerships and the Holistic Legal Assistance Network, and critical infrastructure like the Legal Services Corporation and the Shriver Center’s Legal Impact Network, have been vital in securing access to justice for so many individuals and communities. Moreover, Kresge’s strong support for NLADA’s Civil Legal Aid Initiative, which builds collaborations between civil legal aid and providers of critical services like housing and health care and helps these collaborations access federal funding, has resulted in partnerships across the country. These partnerships provide a continuum of services that help stabilize people’s lives so that they may begin to find pathways out of poverty. They have also resulted in the allocation of millions of federal dollars to support the partnerships. Ariel Simon will accept the award on behalf of the Kresge Foundation.


Max Laun

Vice President & General Counsel, Arconic
As vice president and general counsel, Max Laun oversees the day-to-day operations of Arconic’s legal activities worldwide. Previously, he was assistant general counsel, mergers and acquisitions. Max began his career as an attorney in Alcoa’s legal group in Pittsburgh more than... Read More →

Rhodia Thomas

Executive Director, MidPenn Legal Services
Ms. Thomas serves as executive director of MidPenn Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm that provides civil legal services to low-income individuals and families and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in 18 counties in Central-Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude... Read More →
avatar for Jo-Ann Wallace

Jo-Ann Wallace

President, NLADA Service Corporation
Jo-Ann Wallace became president of the NLADA Service Corporation on November 1, 2021. She previously served as president and CEO of NLADA from 2005-2021. Before becoming president and CEO of NLADA, Jo-Ann was the organization’s senior vice president for programs, responsible for... Read More →

Thursday November 1, 2018 8:30am - 10:00am CDT
Galleria Ballroom Westin Galleria, 3rd Level