News from the Director

FDAP 30th Anniversary / Become a FDAP Supporter

Earlier this month, FDAP celebrated its 30th anniversary at an event hosted by Keker & Van Nest, LLP. It was an inspiring evening during which we celebrated the excellence we have maintained in training panel attorneys and representing our indigent clients. We recognized and honored colleagues and partners dedicated to protecting the rights and liberty of our at-risk clients. 

Herbert Rosenthal photograph    Frances Ternus Photograph   

Our anniversary evening was also the kick off of the first FDAP development campaign as we move to augment our funding from the state with support from our community.

We express our gratitude to those who have already joined our growing list of supporters and invite all of you to similarly provide your financial support. We hope that you can individually join at the “Gideon Supporter” level ($1,000 - $4,999), but any amount is appreciated and would make a difference. We have been and will continue to reach out to our law firm supporters and colleagues to join at the higher FDAP Sponsorship levels.

Please visit our donation page, which lists the sponsorship levels and describes how those donations can help. For instance, a contribution of $250 would fund the tuition for a staff attorney attending a two-day appellate defense training, while a $7,500 donation would fund our law clerk program for one year.

Our ability to sustain excellence in representation for indigent appellate litigants is threatened. Although we have the steadfast and much-appreciated support of the Court of Appeal and the Judicial Council, we have been unable to secure an increase in our contract with the state since 2007. In that time, our staff has faced a CPI rising over 20% in the Bay Area; the cost of doing business has similarly increased. Operating at 2007 funding levels is not sustainable, threatening our ability to retain and recruit the highly skilled staff we need. We find ourselves looking to supplement our state contract with support from you and other members of the legal community who share our commitment to indigent representation.

When we opened our doors in 1986, we had case reporters stashed in file cabinets, “three strikes” was a baseball term, and legal pads (not iPads) were the mode. Over the ensuing decades we’ve weathered challenging changes in jurisprudence, one new tough-on-crime law after another, and an office rent explosion in our old SOMA neighborhood. Over those years, our training and support of the panel attorneys accepting First District appointments and our own direct representation of clients was made possible through the support of the judiciary and the dedication of FDAP’s Board of Directors, staff attorneys, support staff, and panel of attorneys. We have ensured the best representation possible for over 35,000 individuals, all of them indigent, most of them people of color, and many of them children.

It would not be impossible to properly thank and acknowledge all of the staff, partners, and supporters who have made our work possible. But we took the opportunity of our 30th Anniversary to honor a few with awards, including Silver Service Awards for those who have served FDAP for 25 years or more, a Partner of the Year award, and a Volunteer of theYear award. Please read more about the awards here.

We're looking forward to many more years of excellence in training attorneys and representing our at-risk clients. And we look forward to your support.

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