CAMDEN - The professional education of lawyers continues to take place long after they gain admission to the bar and begin their careers as practicing attorneys. As public interest agencies, non-profit organizations, and government entities face unprecedented budget cutbacksand shortfalls, Rutgers–Camden Law School and its professors have been committed to providing training and helping to fill that gap.
A Rutgers–Camden law professor recently trained a group of new lawyers on core trial skills during a three-day workshop at the Delaware Department of Justice. J.C. Lore, a clinical professor of law and associate director of lawyering programs at Rutgers–Camden, was one of four attorneys from throughout the country who spent three days at the Delaware Department of Justice this fall reinforcing and teaching core trial skills for lawyers with less than five years of trial experience.
At the program, Lore helped 16 lawyers hone skills in opening and closing arguments, evidence, and cross examination. “It is clear that these attorneys are some of the best that I have seen at their level. This is a direct result of their Office’s commitment to training and supporting their attorneys and they develop their advocacy skills.”
The program was sponsored by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of advocacy in courtrooms across the country. Lore has taught in NITA’s programs since 2004.
According to Kathleen M. Jennings, State Prosecutor for the Delaware Department of Justice, not only was the training exemplary, but it positively impacted her office. “The prosecutors were put through their paces in presenting all aspects of a trial, from opening to closing statements,” notes Jennings. “They walked away from the training reinvigorated and ready to hone their trial skills in the cause of justice.”
As budgets for public interest entities have been dramatically decreased throughout the country, so has training for public interest attorneys. “It is important for offices to continue to find ways to train their attorneys so that effective and zealous advocacy can be maintained at all times. Dean Rayman Solomon and the law school have been extremely supportive of my efforts to assist the public interest community in our region and throughout the country,” said Lore.
The training warrants the investment, notes Jennings. “Coming up with the money necessary to conduct such high quality NITA training is a challenge in light of the lean budgetary times all governmental agencies face. However, trial skills are the lifeblood of a prosecutor’s office and well worth it.”
“In Delaware, some of the lawyers were relatively recent law school graduates, others came from another type of practice, and a number of them already had significant trial experience, so the group featured lawyers with varying degrees of experience,” Lore says.
He is planning a training program for approximately 160 lawyers in New Jersey’s Office of the Law Guardian and Office of Parental Representation, two units within the Office of the Public Defender that provides legal representation to children and parents in family court matters involving allegations of abuse and neglect. The program will be held at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden this summer as part of the Rutgers–Camden Center for Public Interest Training, an entity that Lore launched several years ago to provide support to public interest agencies in the region.
“This type of training is critical to every prosecutor’s office. The quality of our trial lawyers critically affects the quality of justice in Delaware. Our office embraced the training. The enthusiasm of the teachers quickly translated to hard work by the trainees,” said Jennings “These programs are an important way to keep the lawyering education going long after a lawyer graduates from law school, Providing this resource to the region’s lawyers can only strengthen their ability to be effective advocates for their clients and achieve just results,” notes Lore.
A co-founder of the Children’s Justice Clinic at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden, Lore has trained thousands of attorneys and law students throughout the country.
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