Professional Development

Our programs impart essential skills and knowledge to new public defenders and experienced attorneys in Georgia.

Our legal training approach

The GPDC is committed to creating and maintaining the best public defender system in the United States. Consistent with this commitment is the vision to ensure that Georgia’s public defenders are the best trained advocates for indigent defendants in the country. GPDC is actively working to enhance its training program to meet two specific goals:
  • 1. Attract the highest quality applicants to the Georgia public defender system
  • 2. Create a population of lawyers who will exemplify the values and standards we set for our public defender system

We offer a variety of training opportunities throughout the year for our public defenders and are open on a space-available basis to other members of the legal community.

Newly licensed public defenders participate in an initial, two-phase intensive training designed to introduce the public defender to the fundamentals of pre-trial practice and trial skills. Our programs for experienced attorneys cover the gamut of current legal practice that our public defenders need, such as updates on forensic science, juvenile delinquency, appellate practice, and DUI.
In addition to onsite training, we offer several webinars throughout the year to ensure that public defenders can access quality training, notwithstanding their busy schedules.

Contact Professional Development

Trish McCann Bertram
Professional Development Director

Upcoming trainings

Wednesdays, 3:10 – 4 PM ET

NAPD: Be Well Wednesdays

  • Everyone working in public defense is invited. Drop-in for any session. Stay for all or part of the session. Always free. 
  • No registration required. Zoom Link  Meeting ID: 301 833 3193, Passcode: BeWellPD 
On-Demand, No CLE

NAPD Public Service Loan Forgiveness Webinar Series

Part 1: PSFL Basics – video, materials
Part 2: Limited PSLF Waiver – video, materials
Part 3: Managing Repayment – video, materials
Part 4: Loan Forgiveness Q & A – video, materials

June 22, 1:00 – 3:00 PM

Webinar: Litigating Cases with Forensic Evidence

Presented by Emily J. Prokesch, The Office of the Georgia Capital Defender

Litigating Cases with Forensic Evidence: a soup to nuts approach to understanding the forensic evidence in your case, including how to identify the issues and develop a theory-driven, client-centered litigation strategy from the inception of your case through resolution.  You will gain an understanding of discovery materials, the difference between litigating discovery, admissibility (including all of the subsections of Rule 702) and the weight of the evidence, which can be used in plea negations and at trial.  The training will also cover when to work with an expert, and how to fashion arguments that advance a case-specific goal and properly set up the record for appeal. 

Free CLE Credit

This program is accredited for 2 Georgia CLE credits. If you would like CLE credit for participating in this webinar, you must complete the online CLE request form after the webinar. The link to the CLE request form will be provided in the chat during the webinar. 

Webinar Link

Contact to request a webinar link. The quality of the webinar broadcast is dependent on the bandwidth on your end. A high-quality internet connection and speakers or earbuds are required. We suggest logging on 10 minutes early so that you will have time to complete the required software download. You will be held in the zoom waiting room until the seminar begins at 1:00.

July 17 – 19, 2023 | Athens, GA

GPDC 2023 Summer Conference

Georgia Public Defender Council is excited to announce that registration is now open for our 2023 Public Defender Conference! The University of Georgia School of Law is generously hosting a three-day summer conference for all GPDC staff.

The conference is designed to equip you with several diverse and essential skills for successfully representing clients. This year’s conference is intended for attorneys and all staff at every level.

Registration for this conference is open to all state and county employees working for GPDC. The deadline to register is July 3, 2022. Register as soon as possible; registration and hotel accommodations are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. You will be notified if you are placed on the conference waiting list or need to reserve your own accommodation. Check your GPDC email for registration instructions.

CLE credit will be available for conference sessions, and GPDC will pay the CLE fees for all attendees.

July 19 – 21, 2023 | Athens, GA

TILPP Part II: Trial Skills 2023

Georgia Public Defender Council invites its attorneys to attend the 2023 Transition into Law Practice Program Part II: Trial Skills to be held Wednesday, July 19– Friday, July 21, 2023. The program will begin after lunch on Wednesday and Friday afternoon. 

This program will provide APDs intensive training in working their way through the stages of a trial using a case problem. Each topic is presented in a plenary session, followed by extensive practice and feedback in small groups. The faculty consists of outstanding litigators from across the state. Participants build on what they have learned in TILPP Part I, receiving guidance and training from experienced attorneys in the best practices for various real-world challenges. Participants will be required to analyze facts and draft and present arguments. Specific topics covered include:

  • Storytelling
  • Theory and Theme
  • Voir Dire
  • Openings
  • Cross-Examination
  • Direct Examination
  • Closings

Before the training, each attendee will receive the fact pattern on which the program will operate. This is the same fact pattern that was used in TILPP Part I: Fundamentals of Public Defense.

TILPP Trial Skills registration is open until June 20. Click here to register. For attorneys hired after the registration deadline, the CPD or Division head must email to request registration.

Check your GPDC email for more information.

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