Upcoming DSO Training Events

Date: February 25, 2021

This session will focus on how to keep your client out of jail. The bond stage is every bit as important as trial and sentencing and affects every other stage of the case. This session will break down how to conduct pretrial interviews that enable you to craft a compelling bond narrative, will demonstrate how to link your client's story to the best aspects of the legal standard, and will ensure that you know the Bail Reform Act better than anyone else in the courtroom.


Alison Siegler is a Clinical Professor of Law and the founder and director of the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic (FCJC), the nation's first legal clinic solely devoted to representing indigent clients charged with federal felonies. The FCJC defends individual clients and pursues impact litigation in federal district court, in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and before the United States Supreme Court, and engages in legislative advocacy. Siegler received the Seventh Circuit Bar Association's Justice John Paul Stevens Award for Outstanding Public Service Work in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016, the American Constitution Society Chicago Chapter's Ruth Goldman Award in 2014, and the Excellence in Public Interest Service Award from the US District Court and the Federal Bar Association in Chicago in 2012. She has also served on Senator Durbin's screening committee for the selection of federal district court judges. She was previously a staff attorney with the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, a Prettyman Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center's Criminal Justice Clinic, and a law clerk for US District Judge Robert W. Gettleman. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale College, earned a JD from Yale Law School, and holds an LLM from Georgetown.

Start time is 3:30 p.m. EDT (12:30 p.m. PST)

Location: Washington, DC
Date: February 19, 2021

During Black History Month we honor the struggles and victories that changed, and continue to change, America. In this webinar, Judge Myron H. Thompson will share his unique perspective that shaped the course of his life, such as his appointment to the federal bench as the youngest federal judge in the U.S., his experience as a jurist in a Southern state, and his commitment to equal justice under the law. With more than four decades on the federal bench in the Middle District of Alabama, Judge Thompson possesses an encyclopedic and deep understanding of federal sentencing. He has presided over thousands of sentencing proceedings during the evolution of federal sentencing. Judge Thompson has imposed sentences before the federal sentencing guidelines went into effect in November 1987 (when judges imposed indeterminate sentences with virtually unlimited discretion within broad statutory ranges), under the mandatory guidelines, and now under the advisory guidelines post-Booker. Judge Thompson will share his reflections and perspective on federal sentencing based on this lifetime of experience.

Throughout his life, he has represented an extraordinary combination of courage and integrity. One of the last generation of children exposed to polio, Judge Thompson was stricken at an early age, bedridden or confined to a wheelchair at first, but fought back, ultimately being able to walk with only a minor limp.  Judge Thompson has said that the challenges of polio, as well as growing up in the Jim Crow South -- going to segregated schools, using segregated water fountains, and being treated as subhuman -- made him who he is. "It's not the good things that happen to you that make you strong," he says.  "It's when you confront something that you initially perceive as a disadvantage, that's what builds character."  Judge Thompson's biography is available here.

Date: March 03, 2021

Identifying clients living with mental illness and developing the ability to work together effectively impacts every aspect of a case. This session will focus on recognizing signs of mental illness, learning to communicate with empathy and respect, and gathering information and records from a client and others that will best allow the creation of a persuasive theory of the case. It will also cover identifying whether to consult with an expert and if so, what type to retain, in considering issues like competency, the insanity defense, Sell hearings and diminished capacity.


MiAngel Cody is the Executive Director of The Decarceration Collective Law Office and Consultancy, Chicago, IL.

Dr. Brettjet Cody is Assistant Professor and Director of the Well-being Support Unit, Psychology and Counseling Department, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE. 

Start time is 3:30 p.m. EDT(12:30 p.m. PST). 

Location: Virtual Workshop
Date: March 15 - 23, 2021

The Andrea Taylor Sentencing Advocacy Workshop (Virtual Program) 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-centered communication, interviewing for mitigation, fact busting, developing persuasive theories and themes, storytelling at sentencing, persuasive writing, and persuasive presentation

This virtual iteration of the workshop consists of pre-recorded videos 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, participants must commit to attend all parts of this workshop, i.e., prepare for the workshop sessions by watching all seven (7) pre-recorded videos, and attend all six (6) live small group breakout sessions.

Enrollment for this program is limited to 60 participants – priority will be given to those people who have not attended this workshop in the past.

March 15-23, 2021 – 3:30 to 5:30 (EDT) (12:30 to 2:30 (PDT))

Date: March 23, 2021

Desiree Lassiter provides an introduction to the basic chemistry principals driving the latest challenges to state drug priors under 18 U.S.C. § 924(e) (ACCA), definitions under 21 U.S.C. § 802(44) and more. This training teaches lawyers the foundational concepts at the center of these chemistry-based challenges and will include: a simplified review of chemical bonding and chemical structures, identification of the common atoms found in drug molecules and a drug’s molecular formula, exploration of isomerism and available online tools to assist with the identification of potential drug isomers, and a summarization of commonly used chemistry vocabulary found in drug statutes. The goal is to provide practitioners with the chemistry foundation necessary to understand terms used in drug statutes, follow recent court decisions where chemistry-based challenges are made, increase efficacy when engaging with chemistry experts, and issue spot potential chemistry-based attacks.


Desiree Lassiter received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from MIT and wrote an undergraduate thesis on the chemical vapor deposition of thin films. While studying at MIT, Desiree was employed by MIT’s tutorial services room as a chemistry tutor and served as a chemistry teaching assistant for MIT’s project interphase. Desiree was also awarded MIT’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership award for her work within the Latino community and her commitment to uniting underrepresented communities across MIT’s campus. Following her time at MIT, Desiree continued her studies in chemical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, she was awarded the Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship, received a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering, and wrote her thesis on the plasma etching of thin films using chlorine-based plasmas. Desiree served as a teaching assistant for a semiconductor processing course and supported UCLA’s Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity, where she taught and tutored underrepresented engineering students in their undergraduate chemistry courses.

Desiree went on to earn her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. During the pursuit of her law degree, Desiree made the difficult decision to transition away from the world of engineering and become a public defender. Her decision was based in part on her family’s personal experience within the criminal justice system and her work in Berkeley’s Death Penalty Clinic. After law school, Desiree joined the Bronx Defenders and developed her foundation as a public defender. She served the Bronx community for 7 years before moving to Baltimore, Maryland and joining the Federal Defenders office. Desiree is also a registered patent attorney.

This webinar may be eligible for CLE credit, where authorized. Applications are pending in all states that grant CLE for Training Division webinars.