Mission & History

The Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is an association made up of attorneys practicing criminal defense law in Washington State, along with related professionals.  WACDL is a not-for-profit corporation, with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.  The association’s objectives and purposes are defined in its bylaws:


Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has been formed to improve the quality and administration of justice.  The objectives and purposes of this organization shall be as follows:

A.  To protect and insure by rule of law those individual rights guaranteed by the Washington and Federal Constitutions, and to resist all efforts made to curtail such rights;

B.  To improve the professional status of all lawyers and to encourage cooperation between lawyers engaged in the furtherance of our objectives through publications, education, and mutual assistance; and

C.  To engage in all activities on a local, state and national level that will advance the purposes for which this organization is formed in order to promote justice and the common good of the citizens of the United States.

The association carries out its objectives by offering continuing legal education seminars; publishing a magazine, newsletter and manuals that provide continuing education; by providing attorney-to-attorney assistance through our resource panel, death penalty committee, “three strikes” task force, forfeiture task force, and mentor program.  In addition, through our amicus and legislative committees, and by participation in committees and task forces appointed by the courts and other government bodies, we work to improve the administration of justice.

The association was formed in 1987.  It is governed by an elected board of governors, and employs an executive director and other staff.

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