Our Volunteer Attorney Program (VAP) is a long-standing program at the PD’s office where volunteer attorneys work in the misdemeanor division for four months. Our goal is not only to share the intellect, camaraderie and spirit of the attorneys and support staff of our office with our VAP attorneys but also help the VAP attorneys learn new trial skills and gain confidence in the courtroom.
Important dates to be aware of:
|Season||Application Begin||Application Closed||Training Starts||First Day in Court||Program Ends|
|2015 Session 1:||01/12/2015||01/28/2015||02/17/2015||03/03/2015||06/26/2015|
|2015 Session 2:||05/13/2015||05/27/2015||06/15/2015||06/29/2015||10/30/2015|
|2015 Session 3:||09/16/2015||09/30/2015||10/19/2015||10/30/2015||02/26/2016|
The program begins with a two-week intensive training program that is designed to provide substantive knowledge and trial skills to new VAP attorneys. The program is well organized with a good balance of substantive presentations and trial skill training sessions where the attorneys practice voir dire, opening statements, cross-examination, and closing arguments. The sessions are run by a diverse group of experienced felony and misdemeanor attorneys who have a variety of styles in the courtroom.
After completing the training program, the VAP attorney is assigned to a team of misdemeanor attorneys in Department 17, the Master Misdemeanor Calendar Court, where misdemeanor cases are heard. Running calendar requires the ability to think on one’s feet and a working knowledge of procedural and substantive criminal law. There are three deputy public defenders that are assigned to the same team as the VAP attorney who are available to answer questions and point out important issues. Each team of misdemeanor attorneys is lead by a senior misdemeanor attorney, the asterisk attorney, who serves as a mentor for the newer attorneys on their team. The VAP attorney is able to meet his or her new clients at their arraignment in Department 17.
The VAP attorney can expect to handle a myriad of criminal cases from DUI’s, petty thefts, misdemeanor assaults, auto and commercial burglaries, and resisting and evading the police. There are also motions involving hearings such as search and seizure issues that the loaner can expect to handle. A VAP attorney will handle a caseload of approximately 30 cases. Each VAP attorneys should expect to complete at least four jury trials during the four month program and litigate at least ten motions.
The VAP attorney will also benefit from continued training during the four month program. Monday morning Kickoffs, weekly trial practice groups and in house training offer opportunities for continued development.