Legal aid organizations operate within very small budgets to provide services to low-income Texans. All too often, these limited budgets do not allow for legal aid attorneys to receive the training they need to best advocate for their clients. The Commission supports training opportunities for legal aid organizations so that their attorneys can keep their legal skills and technological knowledge up-to-date.
The Texas Access to Justice Commission, in partnership with the American College of Trial Lawyers and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, conducts a training academy each year for attorneys working in legal aid offices or other non-profit legal services organizations.
Hosted by the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, the Trial Academy brings in some of the top trial lawyers in Texas to deliver live demonstrations of courtroom trial skills. Following each day's demonstration, Academy participants have the opportunity to practice their skills and to receive individual professional critiques designed to develop and refine each participant’s trial techniques.
The hands-on, intensive training delivered at the Trial Academy benefits both legal aid attorneys and their clients. Learning from some of the best legal minds in the state, attorneys sharpen their trial skills and learn to be more effective litigators on their clients’ behalf.
The 2018 Trial Academy will be June 5-8 in Austin and will focus on voir dire, opening statement, direct and cross-examination and closing arguments. Applications will be available in April 2018. For more information or questions, please contact Kristen Levins at Kristen.Levins@texasatj.org.
Although the American College of Trial Lawyers attorneys volunteer their time to help train legal aid attorneys, it costs approximately $400 per participant to cover expenses, such as lodging and travel, for the Trial and Pretrial Academy. To sponsor a legal aid attorney’s trial skills training, please contact Catherine Galloway, Development and Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advances in technology allow for more efficient delivery of services as well as increased service to underserved areas and individuals. To ensure that the legal aid community can best use technology to advocate for their clients the Commission provides training to legal aid staff on the latest software and tools. To learn more about our technology training for legal aid organizations, visit our Technology page.