Each year, the San Francisco Public Defender provides two trial college training opportunities to its attorneys and to members of the criminal defense bar.   The event is not open to the public, law students, prosecutors, or law enforcement.

The office believes there is no better way to learn than by doing.  As such, our trial colleges are designed to be informative and practical by providing participants with a combination of lectures and an opportunity to practice, on their feet, the skills and concepts that are being taught.

Participants will be able to practice openings for upcoming cases in small group settings and also receive feedback from these Masters of Openings and other experts in the area.


Thomas Mesereau Jr. acquitted pop legend Michael Jackson of fourteen charges of alleged conspiracy and child molestation. He has won many high stakes criminal, civil and administrative trials before judges and juries involving a wide-range of claims, including securities fraud, complex business disputes, health care fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, murder, sexual assault and the death penalty. He is also recognized for his 25 years of free legal work for the poor and under-represented. He operates a free legal clinic in Los Angeles County and also represents one client on death row each year pro bono in Alabama or Mississippi. He attended law school at Hastings College.

Brian Waite is Chief Attorney of the Orange County Public Defender’s office. A frequent speaker for the CPDA, Brian has lectured on gang cases, jury selection and other aspects of trial preparation and strategy. “I was really impressed with Brian Waite. His presentation on opening statements and closing arguments was simply magical. This man had a gift.”

Registration, Payment, and MCLE

Registration is available here or by selecting the Register link in the event box above.  Deadline for registration is Monday, May 16.  Upon registration, checks should be made payable to San Francisco Office of the Public Defender and mailed to:

Larry Roberts
San Francisco Public Defender
555 7th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

$145 for public defenders and private defense attorneys in practice for less than three years.
$195 for other private defense attorneys.

Payment is by check only; payment by credit card is not possible. Be sure to indicate the name of the registrant on checks.  Checks must be postmarked by Monday, May 16.

MCLE – 6 hours of MCLE will be provided.