The National Juvenile Defender Center organizes and delivers high-quality training sessions on a broad range of topics for defenders — or, by request, for other juvenile justice professionals — around the country. Our expert presenters provide interactive, practice-focused training for large or small groups. We have been especially successful at hosting small-scale, intense sessions on narrow topics such as detention advocacy, competency, or adolescent development. Training programs can vary in length from hours to several days, depending on the needs of the attorneys.

Please contact NJDC if you are interested in co-sponsoring training in your area.

State and Local Training

TraineesTraining is a cornerstone of ensuring excellence for youth in the juvenile justice system. Whether for defenders, court personnel, or other stakeholders, NJDC is committed to providing quality training on issues and practice related to juvenile defense. NJDC can help with a variety of training needs by tailoring training sessions to fit the needs and interests of the participants and organizers. Here is a sample of the kinds of training NJDC can provide or help coordinate in your area:

JTIP: Juvenile Training Immersion Program.
JTIP was developed to alter the landscape of juvenile defense by providing the foundation for high-quality, meaningful representation of youth. Intended to serve as the “gold standard” in juvenile defense training, JTIP is designed for use in any jurisdiction. NJDC and Certified JTIP Trainers partner with state and local defender agencies, bar associations, or other organizations to provide juvenile defense trainings from our 40-lesson curriculum that are tailored to meet the needs of the local audience. The JTIP curriculum provides general law and trial skills that are applicable in all jurisdictions, while also being easily customizable to incorporate key state and local statutes, court rules, and case law so that each lesson is directly relevant to individual jurisdictions. These trainings can be anything from a single lesson at a CLE program to an intensive multi-day training dedicated exclusively to juvenile defense.

While JTIP is a training that can be brought to any state or local jurisdiction, the JTIP program also includes two national options: The JTIP Summer Academy and a JTIP Certified Trainer Course.

Toward Developmentally Appropriate Practice: A Juvenile Court Training Curriculum
For both defender and non-defender stakeholders, this 5-module training program, produced in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, focuses on adolescent development; screening assessing, and evaluating youth; special education and disability rights; legal questions about youth’s capacities; and communicating with youth. Training sessions based on the Curriculum can focus on one or any combination of modules.

National Training

While juvenile defense is often a local practice, defenders can benefit greatly from trainings that encompass a broader range of issues and practices than those that are particular to their individual jurisdictions. NJDC provides several opportunities at the national level for juvenile defenders to engage with their colleagues and develop skills on a national stage.

Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit
Our major annual training event is the Juvenile Defender Leadership Summit. This invitation-only event brings together juvenile defenders from every state and the District of Columbia for three days of information sharing, training, networking, organizing, and strategic planning. Presentations focus on a wide range of practice and policy issues. Each Hertz at Summer Academyyear, we distribute a Juvenile Defender Resource Guide that includes new articles, studies, case briefs, court decisions, and other information relevant to juvenile defense.

JTIP Summer Academy
Each Summer NJDC and Georgetown Law partner to deliver a week-long intensive training for front-line juvenile defenders from around the country. The program, which covers both substantive law and trial skills, is available by application only. The program is intended to fit the needs of both new and experienced juvenile defenders, so anyone who represents youth in delinquency court is welcome to apply.

Certified JTIP Trainer Course
Trainers who are nominated by other leaders in the juvenile defense community may be invited to participate in a multi-day course on JTIP training techniques in order to become a Certified JTIP Trainer. The course covers a wide array of issues such as adult learning theory, effective methods for delivering feedback, how to manage challenging or disruptive behaviors, matching media and activities to a variety of learning styles, and other presentation skills. Upon completion of the course, Certified JTIP Trainers get access the full JTIP training curriculum and are able to lead JTIP training programs in their jurisdiction or around the country.

Conferences and Meetings

NJDC staff are regularly called upon to speak at conferences and other meetings on a broad range of  issues related to juvenile defense. Whether as a key note speaker or leading breakout session on a variety of policy and practice topics, NJDC’s expert staff is dedicated to advancing the understanding of juvenile defense issues.  If you would like someone from NJDC to speak at an upcoming training, conference, or meeting, please contact us.

Recorded Training

Spotlight on Youth-Risk Assessment in Juvenile Justice
Listen to NJDC Executive Director, Mary Ann Scali, discuss the use of risk assessments tools and protocols.

Spotlight on Youth: Fulfilling the Legacy of In re Gault
A radio talk show discussion on the importance of representation for youth, with Tim Curry of NJDC and Arthur Bowie of the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office.


NJDC also conducts and participates in webinars related to the defense of youth.

Juvenile Defender Training Skills Publications

Trial Manual for Defense Attorneys in Juvenile Court (Hertz, Guggenheim, & Amsterdam: Updated 2015)
A complete how-to guidebook for handling juvenile court cases, the Manual covers every phase of the juvenile court process, from arrest and intake through appeals, with sound advice from distinguished experts.  This definitive hornbook will be extremely useful to both new and veteran attorneys, and incorporates scholarly writings, statutes, and cases from jurisdictions across the nation.  The Manual is an invaluable resource on the law as it is applied to youth at each stage of the delinquency process.

Delinquency Notebook (2006)
An introduction for new attorneys, or defenders new to juvenile work, this guide is a primer on the practice of advocating at delinquency proceedings and provides a foundation for zealous advocacy.

Training on LGBT Youth and the Juvenile Justice System

NJDC is a partner in the Equity Project,  an initiative to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in juvenile delinquency courts are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. The Equity Project has a 6-module curriculum — Toward Equity — for training all juvenile justice stakeholders to increase competence about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) in all phases of the delinquency system.