The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office’s Legal Training Unit, which has been certified by the Continuing Legal Education Board of the New York State Office of Court Administration, is committed to the professional development of assistant district attorneys throughout the office. The Legal Training Unit offers a four-part program for assistants in their first three years of commitment to the office which is designed to prepare them for the challenges of practice at the Criminal Court, Grand Jury and Supreme Court levels. This program is broken down into the following segments:
- Orientation Training: This is a four-week training program for new prosecutors designed to introduce them to the structure and function of the office and prepare them to be Criminal Court level attorneys. The training consists of live classroom lectures, interactive workshops, and mock suppression hearings. Classroom lectures cover a range of topics, including prosecutorial ethics, complaint drafting, arraignments, communication with victims and witnesses, and search and seizure law. New prosecutors also learn about the office’s Conviction Review Unit, the causes of wrongful convictions, and specific cases that have been recently vacated. Additionally, the training program includes several out-of-office tours, including visits to Riker’s Island Correctional Facility and the New York City Police Department’s Firearms Analysis Unit.
- Trial Advocacy Program: This program is designed for assistant district attorneys who have completed their first year of service in the office, and consists of a lecture-and-workshop series covering topics such as the introduction of evidence, preparing witnesses, jury selection, and summations. Lectures are followed by the assistants preparing and competing in mock trials held in real courtrooms in Kings County Supreme Court.
- Grand Jury Training: This is a two-week training program designed for assistant district attorneys who are transitioning from Criminal Court practice to Grand Jury practice. The training familiarizes prosecutors with the organization and structure of the Grand Jury and instructs them on the proper presentation of evidence on various cases, such as narcotics cases, assaults, burglaries, and gun cases.
- Felony Trial Training: This training is designed for assistant district attorneys transitioning from Grand Jury practice to Supreme Court felony practice. The program begins with a lecture series covering topics that include Brady/Giglio obligations, expert witnesses, ethical summations, and current issues in trial practice. The training culminates in a series of performance workshops moderated by seasoned supervisors and trial attorneys from throughout the office.
Additionally, the Legal Training Unit offers a mentor program, designed to match new assistant district attorneys with veteran prosecutors. The goal of the program is to help promote a productive and positive work culture by investing in the professional development of new attorneys and by fostering beneficial relationships between the office’s new attorneys and its more experienced prosecutors.
Finally, for seasoned prosecutors, the Legal Training Unit offers on-going continuing legal education lectures and courses, from both in-house and outside experts, on a variety of topics pertaining to emerging legal issues, courtroom techniques, and other practical trial and investigative skills. The unit also works with, and sends assistants to, various training programs conducted by other prosecutorial, law enforcement, and government agencies, such as the New York State Prosecutors’ Training Institute in Albany.