Trial Skills Workshop I: Advocacy Skills to Maximize Use of Experts, Jan. 23-25, 2020, New Orleans, LA

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO), Defender Services Office, Training Division (DSOTD) is pleased to announce that registration is now open for Trial Skills Workshop I: Advocacy Strategies & Skills to Maximize Use of Experts (TSW 1), one of our newest skills training. This TSW will focus on the use of experts for trials and evidentiary hearings. It will take place Thursday, January 23, 2020 thru midday Saturday, January 25, 2020, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana.


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.


Though not required, participants will have an opportunity to bring their own case to use in small group sessions if they have identified an issue involving scientific or technical expertise in one of these three areas: (1) mental health (including substance use disorder), (2) historical cell site location information or (3) firearm toolmark evidence. We also have a model case file for participants’ use.


A limited number of spaces are available given the hands-on practice format of this workshop. If you are interested in applying for TSW you should submit the application through, or by visiting


Applicants will be sent a link to submit supplemental information at the time of registration. This supplemental information form must be returned no later than November 29, 2019, to be considered for the workshop.


As with all DSO-TD programs, there is no registration fee and materials will be provided free of charge. TSW is designed for, and attendance is limited to Criminal Justice Act (CJA) practitioners, both panel attorneys and federal defender staff. TSW will begin on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 8:30 a.m., and will end at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Participants are expected to stay for the entire program. For questions about the substance of the workshop, please contact Lisa Lunt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Joan Politeo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; for questions about registration or other logistics, please contact Rolan McClarry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


A limited amount of financial assistance is available for qualifying CJA panel attorneys to cover a portion of travel costs. The financial assistance application is linked below and available on the training page of our web site,, where interested people can also register.


Also linked below is a draft agenda which is also available on the training events page of


Continuing Legal Education (CLE) accreditation for this program will be sought in all applicable jurisdictions.


Finally, as a reminder, we encourage all CJA practitioners to visit for the latest news and legal developments that impact our clients and to find helpful program materials from past seminars.


Financial Assistance

Draft Agenda