PDS Training Programs
PDS has launched the Deborah T. Creek Criminal Practice Institute: Spring, Summer, and Fall Series. PDS offers this free training to members of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel. The Series contains sessions on numerous different criminal defense areas, including trial skills, immigrant defense, collateral civil consequences, sentencing, ethics, parole matters, and hot issues in class action litigation.
The Series is open to panel attorneys and other interested pro bono attorneys practicing criminal law in the District of Columbia, and registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Most courses qualify for CLE credit in other jurisdictions.
Questions regarding the Criminal Defender Training Program should be directed to .
Forensic science evidence is now a part of nearly every criminal trial. As both government and defense attorneys increasingly turn towards forensic science evidence in their cases, the need for high quality training in the utility of these various types of evidence is crucial. PDS’s Forensic Practice Group (FPG) focuses on understanding, utilizing, and challenging forensic science in court, and this knowledgeable group comes together with other experts yearly to present on key forensic science issues.
FPG has an exceptional national reputation. It is regularly consulted by defense attorneys around the country. FPG frequently collaborates with partners nationwide including with our counterparts at the Legal Aid DNA unit in NYC, the L.A. Public Defender, the Cook County Public Defender forensic unit and with the two leading criminal defense organizations in the country (NACDL and NLADA) to provide model pleadings and input on national forensic legislation. Often that material is drafted and/or reviewed by FPG members.
Questions regarding the Forensic Science Conference should be directed to .
As required by the CJA plan, PDS facilitates training of all new members of the attorney panels and the investigator panel.
Regarding new members of the CJA attorney panel, PDS offers a pilot two-week, full-time program annually, for newly appointed CJA attorneys that is modeled after the skill-based portion of PDS’s own trial training program for its new attorneys. The training is organized and implemented by PDS Training Director Mani Golzari and Special Counsel Claire Roth, CLE program coordinator for the CJA Panel . The program includes opportunities for a small group of CJA attorneys to participate in mock exercises to develop or improve specific skills, such as opening statements, cross-examinations, direct examinations of expert witnesses, and closing arguments, and to receive performance critiques. Follow-up training is also offered when preparing to transition to representing clients in jury trials.
For additional information on upcoming new panel attorney training programs, please contact . For information on upcoming investigator training, please contact .
PDS's Appellate Training Director, James Whitehead, manages the PDS-CJA Appellate Consultation and Assistance Program. James Whitehead is available full-time to consult with members of the CJA Appellate Panel in order to offer intensive assistance with the writing of their briefs.
The overarching objective of this program is to help CJA appellate practitioners at the beginning of the appellate representation, by creating a collaborative process for the identification of appealable issues and the framing of those issues in the appellate brief. Because these decisions often have a determinative influence on the outcome of the appeal, the PDS Appellate Division has long believed in the value of working with colleagues during this critical stage of the representation. In addition, James Whitehead hopes to be available to provide editorial assistance during the actual writing of an appellate brief. In this respect, too, the program will emulate the case-specific assistance the PDS Appellate Division offers its own appellate staff.
In important respects, however, the program will differ from the model of assistance used internally at PDS. Within PDS, consultation and advice are provided in the form of close supervision by a more experienced attorney who exercises oversight authority. In the PDS-CJA program, all authority will remain with the CJA attorney. Participating in the program will not commit anyone to accepting any direction or edits.
The PDS-CJA program will also differ from PDS’s internal model because, given the constraints on his time, we cannot guarantee the availability or degree of assistance on any particular case. Depending on their own workloads, members of the PDS Appellate Division might be available on occasion to help with the evaluation of appellate issues and the editing of drafts.
James Whitehead urges anyone with an upcoming oral argument to contact him about arranging a moot court with a combined panel of PDS and CJA judges.
If you would like to consult on a brief or arrange a moot court, please contact . He looks forward to hearing from you.