Training program at Dickinson Law refines cross-examination skills for attorneys

October 27, 2015

CARLISLE, Pa. — A select group of public defenders from across Pennsylvania traveled to Penn State’s Dickinson Law on Friday, Oct. 23, to participate in the inaugural Pennsylvania Defender Advanced Cross-Examination Training Program.

Sponsored by Dickinson Law’s Miller Center for Public Interest Advocacy and the Public Defender Association of Pennsylvania (PDAPA), the advanced cross-examination training was a highly interactive “bring your own case” program that taught cross-examination strategies and techniques that encourage attorneys to find the story and motivation behind each case.

Participants began by working as a group on a plenary fact problem in order to learn skills that they then applied to their own cases in small group workshops. The model of learning was cumulative; each session built on what was learned in the previous workshop.

“Cross-examination is one of the most challenging trial skills to perfect,” said Dickinson Law Interim Dean Gary S. Gildin, who also serves as the program’s director. “During the workshops, participants received case-specific feedback and solutions that they can use prior to going to trial and in the courtroom.”

The program's faculty was comprised of experienced lawyers from around the country, including Carrie Allman (Allegheny County Public Defender’s Office), Cathleen Bennett (Committee for Public Counsel Services, Boston, Massachusetts), Mary DeFusco (Defender Association of Philadelphia), Stuart Glovin (Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, Los Angeles, California), and Fred Goodman (Defender Association of Philadelphia). Dean Gildin also led a workshop.

In addition to this program, Dickinson Law partners with the PDAPA on its annual Trial Skills Training Program each August. In March 2016, the association will host its annual meeting in Lewis Katz Hall on the Dickinson Law campus, which will draw approximately 150 public defenders from around the Commonwealth.

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Last Updated October 27, 2015