Criminal Defense Trial Skills & Trial Law Program

A Program For The Defense

- in Plano, Texas, USA

The Center for American and International Law
5201 Democracy Drive
Plano, Texas 75024

View Map

Registration Open

Credits:MCLE Credit will be available


Described by participants as “the best seminar I have attended”, this highly rated course features lectures (on voir dire, direct and cross examination, opening and closing arguments), followed by small group workshops & demonstrations. 

Participants will learn the techniques and law for each trial skill, and then perform the skill in small groups mentored by outstanding trial attorneys. Following each group session, participants will observe an experienced trial attorney demonstrate the trial skill performed in small groups. Learning, performing, then observing how a trial is prepared and executed will give participants of all experience levels something concrete to take to their next trial.

Courtroom attire is required each day. This program is designed for attorneys with five or more years of experience.

Mock Case: This year’s course will feature a new mock case scenario dealing with a murder presenting DNA and/or self-defense issues.

Conference Co-Chairs

Bob Jarvis
Jarvis & Hamilton Law Firm
Sherman, Texas

Russell Wilson
The Law Office of Russell Wilson, II
Dallas, Texas

Meet the Faculty (pdf)

A Note from Our Chair:

"The purpose of this seminar is to give Criminal Defense trial lawyers the tools they need to be more effective in the courtroom.

The faculty is committed to making sure that every attendee leaves a much better lawyer after they complete this program. This happens when attendees come prepared to make the same commitment to excellence – giving their best efforts and attention to the lectures, demonstrations and most importantly, the breakout sessions.

This is a seminar where we will all work together as a team to learn how to do our jobs better."

This course is funded by a grant from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Download the Brochure (pdf)

For more details, download the online brochure.

Who Should Attend?

With the exception of invited faculty, attendance is limited to 60 Texas criminal defense attorneys. Courtroom attire is required. This program is suggested for lawyers with five or more years of experience.

Schedule and Faculty

Tentative as of 4/29/2019.

Monday, August 5

8:15 am

Check-in & Registration (Refreshments Provided)

9:00 am

Welcoming Remarks & Expectations

  • Bob Jarvis, Jarvis & Hamilton Law Firm, Sherman, Texas

9:15 am

Synopsis of The T.L. Allen Facts & Developing a Theory of the Case

9:45 am

Mandatory Pre-Trial Preparation

10:30 am


10:45 am

Offering Persuasive Exhibits & Demonstrative Evidence

11:30 am

Lecture: Voir Dire

12:15 pm

Lunch (Provided)

1:15 pm

Small Group Workshop – Voir Dire
(Time includes Small Group Prep (Voir Dire): 10 Minute “Work In Your Seat”)

3:05 pm


3:15 pm

Demonstration: Voir Dire In 3 Cases

4:00 pm


4:15 pm

The Fundamentals Of A Powerful Opening Statement

5:00 pm

Small Group Prep (Opening): “Work In Your Seat”

5:15 pm


6:15 pm


Tuesday, August 6

9:00 am

Small Group Workshop – Opening Statement

10:45 am


11:00 am

Demonstration: Opening Statements

11:30 am

Evidence: The Rules Of Engagement

12:10 pm

Lunch (Provided)

1:00 pm

Lecture & Demonstration: Direct Examination

1:45 pm

Small Group Workshop – Direct Examination
(Time includes Small Group Prep (Direct): 10 Minute “Work In Your Seat”)

3:25 pm


3:30 pm

Storytelling Throughout The Trial

4:30 pm


4:45 pm

Cross Examination: The Tools Of The Trade

5:30 pm

Small Group Workshop Prep (Cross Examination)

6:15 pm


Wednesday, August 7

9:00 am

Small Group Workshop – Cross Examination

10:30 am


10:35 am

Demonstration: Cross Examination

11:05 am


11:15 am

Dealing With The Government’s Expert Witnesses

11:45 am

Protecting The Record: Trial Objections

12:30 pm

Lunch (Provided)

1:30 pm

The Court’s Charge: Give The Jury Their Marching Orders

2:00 pm

Lecture: Closing Argument

2:45 pm


2:50 pm

Small Group Workshop – Closing Argument
(Time includes Small Group Prep (Closing): 10 Minute “Work In Your Seat”)

5:30 pm


Thursday, August 8

9:00 am

Demonstration: Closing Argument

9:45 am


10:45 am


11:00 am

Mitigation & Punishment

11:45 am

Intangibles: The Will Of A Criminal Defense Lawyer

12:30 pm


CLE Credit

The State Bar of Texas has approved this program for a total of 24.75 hours, including 1 hour of ethics. Course ID Number: 174057000.

In addition to Texas, after the program (if requested) CAIL will directly apply for course accreditation in the following states, as long as course materials and evaluations are not required: California and Oklahoma. Attorneys may be eligible to receive CLE credit through attorney self-submission in other states, as long as course materials and evaluations are not required to be submitted.

Other Information

Cancellation Policy

Written cancellation must be received 5 business days prior to a program to receive a refund (Email: After this date, no refunds, but substitution of attendees for this program will be permitted with prior approval. Registrants not entitled to a refund will receive the course materials. Waiver recipients must attend the program to receive the materials.

Nondiscriminatory Policy

The Center for American and International Law does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status or any other protected status in educational activities, scholarship programs or admissions.

Privacy Policy

We do not sell or rent information to any outside parties. By providing your information, you will receive postal and electronic communications from The Center for American and International Law (CAIL) in accordance with CAIL's Privacy Policy. At any point, you can opt-out or unsubscribe by selecting either link at the bottom of each email or call us at 972.244.3400.

Registrar: +1.972.244.3404
Fax: +1.972.244.3401