News Release

Norman L. Reimer Stepping Down as Executive Director of NACDL and the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice

Reimer to be Honored at NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice Gala in Washington, DC, on Thursday, October 7, 2021

Washington, DC (June 7, 2021) – On February 15, 2020, at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Midwinter Meeting in San Diego, CA, NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer announced to NACDL’s Board of Directors, members, and staff that he would be stepping down in 2021 from his role as Executive Director of NACDL and the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ), after serving 15 years in those positions. Reimer stated at the time that he was providing extensive notice to ensure the smoothest and most effective transition to his successor. A nationwide search for the new executive director, aided by a highly respected search firm, is well underway and a smooth transition will be achieved.

Norman Reimer will be honored at the NFCJ Gala to be held in Washington, DC, on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

"NACDL and the criminal defense function is at the core of my being and it always will be," said Norman L. Reimer, further noting that "as a proud Life Member of NACDL, I will continue to do everything I can to support NACDL and the NACDL Foundation in the important work it does to restore humanity and purge racism from America’s deeply flawed criminal legal system." 

Reimer was appointed to serve as Executive Director of NACDL and the NFCJ in 2006. His appointment followed more than 25 years as a prominent criminal defense lawyer based in New York City as well as extensive service to the organized bar, including as the President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and in the New York State and American Bar Association Houses of Delegates. 

Reimer’s leadership and vision over the past 15 years has enabled NACDL to realize significant growth evidenced by a vast expansion of its public policy reform advocacy, educational programming, and resource support to the bar and the criminal legal system. Additionally, with support from the Foundation, NACDL now supports a range of pro bono projects to seek freedom for those serving inordinately long prison sentences. This growth has propelled NACDL to the forefront of the national conversation about criminal legal reform. 

"Norman Reimer’s leadership has been completely transformational for the Association," said NACDL President Christopher W. Adams. "Every day since he was appointed Executive Director, Norman has poured his heart, soul, and boundless talent into NACDL and the NFCJ. He has done so with a commitment to the sanctity of the defense function that has benefitted NACDL’s members, the criminal defense bar as a whole, and the lives of people who have been impacted by the nation’s all-too-often oppressive, extreme, and unjust system. There is so much to honor about Norman Reimer’s immense contributions to NACDL, NFCJ, and criminal legal system reform, and our gratitude for his achievements. Over the coming weeks and months, Norman and his unrelenting work on behalf of the nation’s criminal defense bar and the people we serve will indeed be honored."

At the time Reimer came to head the NFCJ, the Foundation was just five years old. With the exception of its involvement in providing relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Foundation had been largely dormant, with total contributions since inception in the low six figures. Since then, under Reimer’s leadership, the NACDL and the NFCJ have raised more than $30 million in grants as well as corporate and individual contributions in support of the trailblazing work of the Association. 

The expansion of the NFCJ’s fundraising activities during Reimer’s tenure has made possible myriad groundbreaking projects at NACDL, including reports, research, and policy and pro bono initiatives concerning the trial penalty, race and the criminal legal system, the right to counsel, clemency, public defense crises, the eroding intent requirement in the criminal law, the Fourth Amendment in the digital age, compassionate release, the collateral consequences of arrest and conviction, and much more. 

"The growth and success of the Foundation is directly attributable to Norman’s visionary leadership," said NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice President and NACDL Past President Lisa M. Wayne. "He proved that by conceiving of projects that made and continue to make a real difference. Norman’s inspiration and foresight built an NFCJ that has made a significant impact on criminal justice policy. That will be his legacy."

SAVE THE DATE: NFCJ Annual Gala, Thursday, October 7, 2021, Washington, DC.

On Thursday, October 7, 2021, NACDL will gather in Washington, DC, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice as well as this year’s honorees, including outgoing NACDL and NFCJ Executive Director Norman L. Reimer. Stay tuned for more details at www.nacdl.org/gala.

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Contacts

Kate Holden, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7624 or kholden@nacdl.org

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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