Law school does not prepare lawyers for the courtroom generally. It teaches them to think, to analyze, and to process, but it does not generally teach the techniques necessary to the courtroom.
In criminal defense, most lawyers are solo practitioners. Many hang their shingle and start accepting cases immediately out of law school. Others may start in a prosecutor’s office but still do not understand the nuances of “defense” work or running a practice. In this vein, mentoring is vitally important.
HCCLA has led the forefront for mentoring in Texas. We have the largest and most successful second-chair program. We have worked with the public defender to further mentoring by assisting in the FACT program (future appointed counsel training). The goal has been to train lawyers in both private practice and indigent defense. By increasing the quality of defense lawyers, the entire system works stronger and better.
HCCLA’s second-chair program has been in existence for many years and is quite successful, thanks to the efforts of Sarah Wood (our coordinator) and all of those who regularly participate in the program.
You can read and download the entire report here: