Deierdre L. Weir
Deierdre L. Weir Bio
Deierdre L. Weir has been the President and CEO for more than 34 years. As the Chief Executive Officer of LAD, she is responsible for the oversight of all day-to-day operations across several business units: legal services delivery, finance, marketing and development, information technology and systems operations, facilities management, human resources, and board administration/management. Weir received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan, Masters of Science degrees from the University of California and Central Michigan University.
Deierdre sits on the Board of Directors of the Cass Technical High School Alumni Association and the National Legal Aid and Defender Insurance Corporation. Previously, she sat on the board of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc., (NLADA), where she has served as a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Civil Policy Board and Leadership and Diversity Committee.
She was a Michigan Chronicle 2010 Women of Excellence honoree and 2002 Crain’s Detroit Executive Woman of the Year Distinguished Nominee. She’s also a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit program (XIV).
Deierdre is passionate about helping those find a better life using the law as a mechanism towards that goal.
Don Johnson Bio
Donald Johnson has been with the State Defender Office since 1983, starting as a Deputy Defender and leading the office as Chief Defender since 2000. Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts/English Literature from Michigan State University and his Juris Doctorate from the Santa Clara University School of Law.
As Chief Defender, Donald manages 16 attorneys and 3 clerical staff. They close nearly 5000 cases each year.
Donald found that he loved trial work after completing an externship with the Federal Defender for Northern California. He later worked as an intake investigator for the Santa Clara Public Defender in San Jose, California while attending law school. This affirmed his commitment to criminal defense work. After passing the California Bar Exam, he was hired as a deputy defender by the Santa Clara office. This started him on a life-long commitment to criminal defense trial work. He continued with his passion when he returned to Detroit and joined the State Defender Offender. This is his life’s work.
Michele Hall Bio
Nicole Goodson joined Legal Aid and Defender Association in 2009 as a Staff Attorney. Presently, she holds the positions of Chief Counsel and Chief Operating Officer. Hall is responsible for the oversight of all day-to-day operations: training and supervision of all civil legal management, developing and implementing education and training programs, meeting with and engaging community members and elected officials, and ensuring that quality legal services are provided to clients in an effective and efficient manner.
Goodson received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Detroit and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Detroit Mercy School Law.
Miriam L. Siefer
Miriam L. Siefer Bio
Miriam L. Siefer attended college at the University of Michigan and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1972. She graduated Wayne State University Law School cum laude in 1975. After three years in private practice, Ms. Siefer taught at Wayne State University Law School and was director of the Criminal Advocacy Clinic in 1979-80. From May of 1980 to 1995, Ms. Siefer was Chief Deputy Defender of the Federal Defender Office.
In April of 1995, she was appointed to the position of Federal Defender for the Eastern District of Michigan, with the Legal Aid & Defender Association, Inc. She has served on numerous committees including the Sixth Circuit Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, the Eastern District of Michigan Federal Court Local Rules Committee, the State Bar of Michigan United States Courts Committee, a Defender representative to the United States Courts Criminal Law Committee, and as a Board Member of the Local Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
Ms. Siefer was awarded the 1994 “Leonard R. Gilman Award for Outstanding Criminal Practitioner.” She served as President of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan from 1997-1998. She is currently a member of the Board of Visitors at the Wayne State University Law School and Chair of the Sixth Circuit’s Life Member Committee. Ms. Siefer frequently serves as a lecturer and panelist at various seminars and symposia.