This summer, 40 legal aid attorneys and members of the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project participated in a three-day expert deposition and trial skills training program sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis LLP through the CBF Legal Aid Academy. This is the second year in a row that Kirkland has partnered with the CBF Legal Aid Academy to provide free, high-quality training to attorneys in the legal aid community. Last year the program focused on taking and defending depositions of lay witnesses. This year, responding to a need identified by legal aid organizations, the program focused on expert witnesses, including preparing the witness, taking and defending the deposition, and examining the expert witness in court. Once again, Kirkland attorneys and staff customized the program for legal aid, building on their very successful KITA (Kirkland Institute for Trial Advocacy) program, which utilizes hands-on learning with immediate feedback, lectures and demonstrations. Volunteers from PriceWaterhouseCoopers served as expert witnesses. Experienced legal aid attorneys and Kirkland partners served as instructors at the training, providing detailed feedback and building relationships with one another.
The CBF Legal Aid Academy is an innovative pro bono program to improve training and professional development opportunities for legal aid attorneys and staff through pro bono contributions. This expert deposition and trial skills program is another excellent example of our legal community coming together to support the important work of legal aid attorneys through the Academy.