AACTLA is an organization of criminal defense attorneys, judges, and law students engaged in the practice of law in the criminal justice system by advocating for the rights of the accused, and dedicated to serving the Asian American community.  

The mission of AACTLA is to improve the study and practice of criminal defense and to promote the fair administration of justice for all by ensuring the meaningful participation of Asian Americans in the legal profession.

We are a not-for-profit corporation, formed in 2014, to represent the interests of Asian American legal professionals and law students in the Bay Area.  We are an affiliate group of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Minority Bar Coalition (MBC) in the Bay Area.  We aim to bring our collective experience as Asian American professionals to the legal community through service programs, professional development, mentorship of law students and attorneys, and advocacy on behalf of the Asian American community.

The right to be heard would be, in many cases, of little avail if it did not comprehend the right to be heard by counsel. Even the intelligent and educated layman has small and sometimes no skill in the science of law. . . . He requires the guiding hand of counsel at every step in the proceedings against him. Without it, though he be not guilty, he faces the danger of conviction because he does not know how to establish his innocence.
— Justice Sutherland (Powell v. Alabama (1932) 287 US 45, 68-69)