DSO Training Events

TRIAL SKILLS WORKSHOP I: ADVOCACY STRATEGIES & SKILLS TO MAXIMIZE USE OF EXPERTS

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date: January 23 - 25, 2020

This is an excellent opportunity for attorneys to learn about the value of experts to (a) help them understand complex areas that impact representation of clients and (b) to develop their courtroom skills, when presenting expert testimony in their cases and cross-examining government experts. Participants will learn from an experienced and highly skilled faculty in both plenary and small-group sessions. During the small-group sessions, participants will practice skills and receive feedback. Areas covered include: (1) identifying and screening experts to support the theory of the case, with practice sessions on screening, interviewing, records collection and qualifying the experts to testify, (2) using the Federal Rules of Evidence to make sure that experts are qualified and the reports and documents that further the defense theory are admitted into the record, (3) cross-examining the government’s expert witness and (4) preparing and examining the defense witness.

TRIAL SKILLS WORKSHOP 2: ADVOCACY STRATEGIES & SKILLS TO MAXIMIZE USE OF EXPERTS

Location: San Diego, California
Date: April 09 - 11, 2020

The Trial Skills Workshops are two and a half day programs that center upon specific components of criminal trial litigation. This first iteration focuses on expert testimony and is the same workshop that we are offering in January. We will not offer this iteration again in 2020. The skills targeted include:  (1) Identifying & screening experts to support the theory of the case, with practical workshops on screening, interviewing, records collection and qualifying the experts to testify; (2) Understanding competency procedurally and strategically, including the strengths and pitfalls of diagnostic modalities; (3) Effective use of the Federal Rules of Evidence to make sure that your experts are qualified and the reports and documents that further your theory are admitted into the record; (4) Advanced theme-based cross examination of the government’s expert witnesses; and (5) Advanced direct examination and understanding  how to navigate the direct examination of a “hostile” witness.  An experienced and skilled faculty will lead this program. Elements of effective litigation advocacy skills will be presented in the plenary sessions. Participants will practice those skills and receive feedback in small group sessions.

Attendance at this program is limited and requires an application which will be made available when registration opens. Accepted applicants will be notified in advance.

The Andrea Taylor Sentencing Advocacy Workshop II

Date: March 26 - 28, 2020

The Andrea Taylor Sentencing Advocacy Workshop focuses on a vital area of federal practice that has evolved since the Supreme Court declared the federal sentencing guidelines were advisory and no longer mandatory. Since approximately 97% of federal criminal cases continue to the sentencing phase, participation in the Sentencing Advocacy Workshop should not be missed. The Sentencing Advocacy Workshop teaches a comprehensive approach to sentencing where participants are trained to develop persuasive, fact-based, sentencing theories, and are provided with the advocacy skills necessary to advance their theories both in writing and during sentencing hearings. Presentations and demonstrations at the workshop include client relations and interviewing for mitigation, fact busting, developing persuasive theories and themes, storytelling at sentencing, persuasive writing, and persuasive presentation. The workshop consists of plenary sessions and small group breakout sessions. In the small group sessions, participants will use pending cases of their own to bust the facts, develop theories and themes, practice storytelling, persuasively write part of their sentencing memorandums and discuss how best to conduct sentencing hearings. Please note that due to the workshop format of this program, participation in all of the sessions is mandatory.

Enrollment for this program is limited to 65 participants – priority will be given to those people who have not attended this workshop in the past. Limited financial assistance may be available to non-federal defender registrants for travel expenses.

Second Annual Federal Defender Social Work Conference

Location: Austin, Texas
Date: December 05 - 06, 2019

This program is designed for staff in federal defender offices who are engaged in social work. A few sessions are open to attendees at the Winning Strategies Seminar. Included in this program are brainstorming/resource-sharing discussions, as well as presentations by returning citizens and experts with lived experience in their field. Facilitators will lead a day-long workshop on Restorative Circle Training (registration required in advance; please use registration button on this page to select this training).

Non-Capital Sentencing Mitigation Skills Workshop

Date: February 27 - 29, 2020

Using a storytelling approach, this workshop presents a hands-on method on the development of non-capital mitigation and its integration into persuasive sentencing advocacy. Through plenary and small group sessions, participants will further their understanding on non-capital mitigation evidence and the skills necessary to effectively interview for mitigation; investigate, collect and analyze records; and write reports and/or sentencing memorandum to present mitigation at sentencing. In the small group sessions, participants will use pending cases of their own to practice interviewing, storytelling, and persuasive writing. This workshop is specifically designed for non-capital mitigation social workers, sentencing advocates, attorneys and other professionals who provide this work under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA). Please note that due to the workshop format of this program, participation in all of the sessions is mandatory.

Enrollment for this program is limited to 45 federal defender staff and non-capital mitigation social workers, sentencing advocates, attorneys and other professionals who provide this work under the Criminal Justice Act (CJA).

Race in the Federal Criminal Court: Strategies in Pursuit of Justice

Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: February 06 - 08, 2020

Race in the Federal Criminal Court: Strategies in Pursuit of Justice is designed to educate attorneys appointed pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act about the many ways race impacts the administration of justice in federal court and to provide them with strategies to combat racial injustice in the criminal justice system. Areas to be addressed include implicit bias, jury selection and Batson challenges, and racial disparities in charging, pleas, and sentencing. In addition, sessions devoted to the use of experts, motions practice, and sentencing reform will be presented in both plenary and breakout sessions.

Winning Strategies Seminar II

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: January 30 - February 01, 2020

The Winning Strategies Seminar brings together a dynamic group of attorneys and other legal professionals to speak on a wide variety of topics, all specifically designed to keep CJA practitioners abreast of the most recent and important developments in federal criminal defense.  Sessions include both large plenary lectures as well as smaller breakout sessions that meet the specific needs of the advanced practitioner and the less experienced attorney alike. The anticipated sessions will include such topics as a Supreme Court update, busting bond myths and winning pretrial release, dismantling the conspiracy charge (pretrial through trial), defending drug, conspiracy and immigration cases, implicit bias, sentencing issues, ethics and more. For those new to federal criminal defense practice, the Fundamentals of Federal Criminal Case will occur concurrently on January 30, 2020.  Please register separately for the Fundamentals program.

Fundamentals of Federal Criminal Defense Seminar I

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: January 30, 2020

This program is designed for those new to federal criminal defense practice and addresses topics such as discovery and motion practice, pleas and proffers, the Bail Reform Act, and the basics of the sentencing guidelines. Limited financial assistance may be available to non-federal defender registrants for travel purposes.

TRIAL SKILLS WORKSHOP I: ADVOCACY STRATEGIES & SKILLS TO MAXIMIZE USE OF EXPERTS

Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: January 23 - 25, 2020

The Trial Skills Workshops are two and a half day programs that center upon specific components of criminal trial litigation. This first iteration focuses on expert testimony. The skills targeted include:  (1) Identifying & screening experts to support the theory of the case, with practical workshops on screening, interviewing, records collection and qualifying the experts to testify; (2) Understanding competency procedurally and strategically, including the strengths and pitfalls of diagnostic modalities; (3) Effective use of the Federal Rules of Evidence to make sure that your experts are qualified and the reports and documents that further your theory are admitted into the record; (4) Advanced theme-based cross examination of the government’s expert witnesses; and (5) Advanced direct examination and understanding  how to navigate the direct examination of a “hostile” witness.  An experienced and skilled faculty will lead this program. Elements of effective litigation advocacy skills will be presented in the plenary sessions. Participants will practice those skills and receive feedback in small group sessions.

Attendance at this program is limited and requires an application which will be made available when registration opens. Accepted applicants will be notified in advance. 

Winning Strategies Seminar I – Mindful Advocacy: Learning, Litigating and Leading on Mental Health Issues

Location: Austin, TX
Date: December 05 - 07, 2019

Winning Strategies Seminar I Mindful Advocacy: Learning, Litigating and Leading on Mental Health Issues brings together a dynamic group of attorneys, other legal professionals, and academic specialists to address a wide array of mental health topics, all designed to keep CJA practitioners and federal public defenders abreast of the law and best practices when appointed to represent clients living through mental illness. Sessions include both plenary lectures and smaller breakout sessions that meet the needs of advanced practitioners, less experienced attorneys and non-attorney legal professionals. The anticipated sessions include topics on effective communication, addiction, trauma, autism, adolescent and emerging adult brain development, hiring and working with experts, competency, building strong mitigation, the insanity defense, mental health courts, and ethical consideration on attorney self-care. A half-day workshop will be dedicated to trauma-informed care (separate registration required, which will open at the end of October).

We’re also excited to welcome the 2nd Annual Federal Defender Social Work Conference into this program. Registration will open shortly for this program. 

Limited financial assistance may be available for both programs to non-federal defender registrants for travel-related expenses.