Legal Aid Society

Training in the Juvenile Rights Practice

Training in the Juvenile Rights Practice consists of several components.

New Attorney Training

Every new staff attorney undergoes a three-week core training: an intensive course addressing all of the key elements of representing children in child welfare proceedings. Additionally, at least twice a year, JRP conducts a comprehensive training program for staff in the area of juvenile delinquency representation. These trainings include PowerPoint presentations, interactive lectures, and hands-on litigation exercises. Borough-based supervisors, social workers, and other staff participate as trainers to provide the benefit of current experiences from the trial offices.


Once attorneys complete the initial child welfare core training, they join a trial office in one of the five boroughs. As they begin to build a caseload, they continue their formal training by attending training “modules” offered for an hour each morning each week for 7 weeks. The modules cover topics such as working with adolescent clients and clients with special needs; educational advocacy; daily life in foster care; interviewing and counseling child clients; and advanced evidence skills.


The Juvenile Rights Practice has created a series of comprehensive training manuals and PowerPoint presentations with training outlines, which are used by Judges and attorneys throughout New York State. We have also created a series of 5×7 cards on various topics, so that information can be easily referenced at case conferences and court hearings. Card topics currently include evidence, immigration, education, State regulations, working with LGBTQ youth, and representing adolescents in foster care.

Trial Advocacy Program

JRP holds a biannual Delinquency Trial Advocacy Program in the summer, and an annual Child Welfare Trial Advocacy Program in the spring. These intensive week-long trainings give attorneys the opportunity to step away from their caseloads and focus on improving and enhancing their client representation and courtroom advocacy skills. The programs each include at least one full day of practice enhancements, including a case law and legislative update, and other workshops based on current issues in the law or practice. These substantive sessions are open to the entire staff. The remainder of the week is comprised of skills sessions and simulated hearings. The faculty who play the roles of Judges/critiquers for the mock hearings include clinical professors, JRP alumni and JRP trainers and supervisors.

Ongoing Training

The Juvenile Rights Practice regularly offers trainings to all staff, so that they can stay current on relevant developments. Last year, we held trainings on such diverse topics as engaging difficult clients, navigating the Administration for Children’s Services system to help clients obtain daycare services, juvenile immigration issues, contempt and enforcement of orders, preserving the record for appeal, dispositional advocacy and domestic violence.

State and National Programs

Because of the expertise of the Juvenile Rights Practice staff, staff members are frequently asked to train at national conferences for advocates from across the country. These conferences include: the National Child Welfare, Juvenile and Family Law Conference; the PLI Annual Children’s Law Institute; the New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project Conference on Adolescent Well-Being; the Appellate Division, Office of Attorneys for Children: Fundamentals of Family Law Training Series; and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy: Training the Lawyer to Represent the Whole Child.