NDS Executive Director Rick Jones spoke at The Third International Conference on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems in Tbilisi, Georgia on community-based public defender services and the contract model of legal aid delivery. He also addressed the role of plea bargaining on the fairness of criminal justice systems and the crucial role of early access to effective legal aid services and the NDS model of holistic defense as an example of the power of public defense to combat discrimination and overcome the disparate impact of criminal justice systems.

The three-day event focused on global challenges in ensuring access to quality legal aid services for the poor and vulnerable, particularly in criminal justice systems and was the third biennial global conference of its kind, following the inaugural conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2014, and the second conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2016.