PATH Conference Agenda
Saturday, August 3, 2013
8:15 AM to 8:45 AM
Melanie Rowen, Assistant Director for Public Interest Programs, Berkeley Law
Opening Plenary Address - "How Can You NOT Defend Those People?"
Jeff Adachi, Public Defender of San Francisco
9:30 AM to 11:00 AM -- PATH SESSION I
- Get Over Yourself: Client-Centered Representation & Indigent Criminal Defense
Client-centered representation is not only the most prevalent theory of lawyering taught in law school clinics, it is a hallmark of some of the strongest public defender offices in the United States. But what is a client- centered approach to representation of indigent clients in criminal matters and how does that approach manifest itself in the trial attorney’s daily practice? When necessary and appropriate, how do you put aside your ego to fully listen to and act upon your client’s wishes, regardless of whether you believe those wishes are in the client’s “best interest”? Panelists will define client-centeredness, what it means in their practice and how to approach a public defender career with a client-centered ethic.
- Knowing the Law is Nice, But… How Investigation Wins Cases
Movies, television, and mock trials all focus on the excitement of litigation and the skill of the trial lawyer, but the trial only tells a small part of the story. It is the preparation prior to trial that makes the real difference. While knowing the law and being skillful in the courtroom are key, case investigation often makes or breaks the case. This interactive tutorial will demonstrate how to conceptualize the investigation of the criminal case and provide resources you can use in your public defense career.
- I Think (Maybe) I’m in Love: Figuring Out Whether Public Defense Is For You
Indigent criminal defense is arguably one of the most difficult – yet most rewarding – legal careers. Relatively low pay, crazy difficult hours and last in line in the popularity contest of public perception, students and lawyers who choose to pursue careers in indigent criminal defense should be absolutely sure that it’s the right move. Drawing on their personal experiences, the panelists will discuss what drew them to public defense, personality commonalities of public defenders, and the types of law school experiences you can pursue to figure out whether this work is right for you.
11:00 AM to 12:30 PM -- PATH SESSION II
- Beyond Burnout: Build a Sustainable Career, Create a Better System
How do you stay healthy, mentally and physically, while working as hard as your clients need you to? What do new attorneys need to know about developing a sustainable career? This panel will address the importance of creating networks of support, both personally and to draw upon for information, as well as effective professional development.
- We Put the ‘D’ in PD: Defense Theory & Crafting a Cohesive Trial Narrative
A skilled trial lawyer can create the impression that they were just "born good,” that innate talent is carrying the day. There are certainly defense attorneys who have a natural gift, but even they will tell you that in the end it all comes down to preparation. The starting point for the criminal defense attorney is the theory on which she builds her case. Using case materials and audience participation, the panelists will demonstrate how to analyze fact patterns to develop a defense theory and trial narrative.
- What Do You Want From Me?! What Public Defender Offices Are Looking For
Unlike private-sector employers, mission-driven public interest organizations place a high importance on identifying those applicants who not only will excel at the work, but who are truly committed to their clients and mission. The sheer number and diversity of public defender offices, combined with a relative dearth of information about how those offices hire, makes the indigent criminal defense hiring process seem shrouded in mystery. Panelists representing a small, a mid-size and a large PD office will give you the inside scoop on what they’re looking for and how to position yourself to get to “yes.”
Lunch with the Defenders
Join defenders from a variety of offices in small group discussions about their offices, hiring and life as a PD.
1:45 PM to 3:15 PM -- PATH SESSION III
- Death Penalty Defense for Indigent Clients
The most difficult cases that a defender can handle are death penalty cases. Deciding to commit your career – even part of your career – to representing clients on death row requires deep self-reflection and highly specialized training. The panelists will provide an overview of death penalty work in the United States, discuss what types of defenders pursue the work and outline the types of experience necessary to secure a job as a death penalty attorney.
- Love Don’t Pay the Bills: Affording Your Public Defender Career
It’s never been a secret that public interest careers pay significantly less than private sector ones, but the rising drumbeat of negative press about salaries and skyrocketing student loan debt can give pause to even the most dedicated public interest student. Luckily, this presentation will put your fears at ease and allow you to continue focusing on becoming a public defender.
- Fit Matters: Identifying YOUR Best PD Office
To the outside observer, a PD office is a PD office is…a PD office. But those in the know are only too aware that offices differ dramatically and that a great fit for one applicant can be a miserable mismatch for the next. Using their personal experiences as a backdrop, the panelists will share their thought processes and research in how they identified which offices to pursue and why, and give you some tips about useful markers in making your decision.
3:15 PM to 4:30 PM -- PATH SESSION IV
- Other Than the Trial, How Was Your Day? Careers Across the Defense Spectrum
Most people assume that public defense only means trial work, but there is so much more to representing our clients. Panelists who are working in different aspects of criminal defense and criminal justice will discuss their work and why they chose the work they do.
- Preparation + Opportunity = Art: Nuts & Bolts of Cross-Examination for the Defense Attorney
It’s been said that cross examination is an art. While there is certainly an art to it, cross-examination is truly about preparation and a full understanding of what you, the advocate, are trying to accomplish. This interactive session will provide the nuts and bolts of cross-examination and provide the audience with an understanding of how art is made.
- Like I Wasn’t Stressed Enough: Role Playing, Hypotheticals & the Public Defender Interview
Although pressure interviews, performance tasks, and behavioral questions have been getting more attention in recent years, public defenders have always utilized such tools to help identify the best candidates for the job. Candidates unfamiliar with the public defender interview are at a distinct disadvantage in the hiring process and can be caught completely off guard. The panelists will discuss the tools public defenders use to interview candidates and provide examples of the types of questions asked in PD interviews.
After PATH Networking Happy Hour (at Free House On Bancroft Way at College Avenue, directly across from law school entrance)
Still want to “talk PD?” Join the PATH conference participants in the relaxed atmosphere of Free House to continue the conversation and network with members of the public interest legal community.