Training in the Civil Practice
The Civil Practice’s training program balances the needs of new hires and experienced or veteran practitioners against a complex set of related legal disciplines.
New Hire Training
New staff attorneys and paralegal case handlers participate in an intensive program of skills and subject matter training. The skills trainings include client interviewing, negotiations, managing a case load, and specialized research. The subject matter trainings are a combination of overviews of our core services such as housing, benefits, family law and immigration along with some more detailed programming that varies based on the placement of new hires. An Introduction to Housing Court is offered almost every year – but other intensive trainings vary by class. Trainers are drawn from throughout the Civil Practice and our programming is coordinated with other legal services providers in the City. Finally, line supervisors work closely with new hires to ensure that they are fully prepared to represent our clients in their first year of practice.
Integrated Trainings for Task Forces and Working Groups
Ongoing training is integrated into task forces or working groups that are organized around various subject matters. Civil attorneys currently participate in the City-Wide Task Force on Housing, the Low-Wage Workers Task Force and the Government Benefits Task Force, among others. We incorporate CLE programs into the monthly and semi-monthly meetings to ensure that all of our attorneys, both veteran and novice, are informed of new developments/changes in the law on an ongoing basis.
Trial Advocacy Program for Housing Practitioners
The Civil Practice holds a semi-annual Trial Advocacy Program for Housing Practitioners. Participants prepare a case under the supervision of experienced housing attorneys and then try their case before experienced practitioners who volunteer to hear our mock trials. This intensive, multiple-day training gives new housing attorneys the opportunity to step away from their caseloads and focus on improving and enhancing their client representation and courtroom advocacy skills.
Special Event Trainings
The Civil Practice regularly offers trainings to all staff across practice areas. Last year, we held trainings on such diverse topics as the New Rules of Professional Conduct, Bankruptcy for Foreclosure Attorneys, the New Power of Attorney Laws, and Basic Corporations for Employment Attorneys.
State-wide Partnership Conference
The Legal Aid Society’s Civil Practice is a member of the organizing committee for the New York State Bar Association’s Statewide Partnership Conference held biennially for legal services staff throughout the State. Our attorneys and case handlers train on a number of key or core subject matters. Our staff attends trainings to improve on existing skills and to expand or acquire new areas of expertise.
Senior staff attends national conferences in their subject areas to stay up-to-date on new litigation strategies and legislative developments in our core subject matters. Staff members are often asked to serve as trainers for these conferences. We have sent senior staff to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) Conference, the National Health Advocates Conference, the National Low Income Immigrant Rights Conference, the Consumer Rights Litigation Conference and Consumer Class Action Symposium (National Consumer Law Center) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act Conference (National Association of Consumer Advocates). The attorneys who attend are then asked to train their colleagues upon their return.