The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association is now accepting applications for The Second Chair Program. This mentorship program aspires to strengthen the defense bar by uniting the ranks of more experienced criminal defense attorneys (First Chairs) with those seeking to enhance their professional education (Second Chairs). If you would like to receive a partner for this semester, please follow the steps below.
1. Make sure you meet the requirements
- Participation in the program either as a First or Second Chair will be limited to current HCCLA members who are licensed and in good standing with the Texas Bar.
- First Chairs need at least 5 years as a criminal lawyer and have been first chair for the defense in at least 5 trials. Please inquire about alternate requirements for First Chair participation in appeals, parole, or other areas. All levels of experience are eligible as Second Chairs.
- Make sure you have the ability to participate. The program is only as successful as the time and energy each member is willing to contribute.
2. Submit your application
- The application deadline is December 7, 2012.
- Partnership assignments announced at the Brainstorming Luncheon on December 11, 2012 at 11:30 a.m., 7th Floor CJC.
3. Make a plan
Once you are given a partner, communicate promptly with one another to decide how you wish to structure your partnership. We recommend that you use one or more of the following formats:
- Second-Chairing - In the traditional fashion, the First Chair selects one or more of their cases for their Second Chair to essentially sit second and participate in co-counsel style.
- Role Reversal - If you participate by reversing roles, then the Second Chair chooses one or more of their cases on which the First Chair can essentially sit second-chair. This is recommended when the Second Chair has a difficult case where they need help.
- Shadowing - All partnerships should include shadowing. In shadowing mode, the First Chair permits their Second Chair to follow them around. Going to court, meeting with clients, investigating, going to ALR or parole hearings, just checking out records or filing motions – all of this and more can promote the partnership through shared experience and observation.