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2022 Making the Case for Life Seminar

Astor Crowne Plaza, New Orleans, LA - 12.0 General Credits

Agenda Faculty CLE Venue Exhibitor/Sponsor Scholarships Pricing Register Online Register by PDF Materials

Program Summary:

Make the case...for your client's life at NACDL's 24th Annual Making the Case for Life Seminar.  This seminar is designed to help capital defenders, investigators, and mitigation specialists. Participants will hear cutting-edge presentations regarding pretrial investigations, capital jury selection, new perspectives on discovering the story of the client and mitigation evidence.  Attendees will learn from seasoned capital trial lawyers, nationally-known law professors, and jury consultants, who will offer their personal perspectives, advice, and proven strategies for making the best case for life. If you are handling or may handle a case in which your client is facing the death penalty, then this is a must-attend seminar for you!

In order to ensure the highest level of safety for our attendees, NACDL will be implementing the following safety measures at the conference:

  1. All participants will need to self-certify they have received the full dosage of a vaccine for COVID-19 prior to attending.
  2. While no longer required, all attendees are encouraged to wear a mask in public indoor settings. NACDL will have masks available for all participants at the registration desk, and signs will be displayed as a reminder to keep masks on at all times (except when eating or drinking). 
  3. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the hotel property, including at the entrance to all meeting rooms. 
  4. The seminar room will be arranged with socially distanced tables/chairs to the best of our ability.


The program agenda and faculty are subject to change.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022
3:30-6:30 pm Early Registration
Thursday, August 25, 2022
7:30 am Registration, Exhibits, and Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Welcome, Introductions, Announcements – NACDL President Nellie King (West Palm Beach, FL) and Program Co-Chairs
8:25 am Opening KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Why Public Defenders are My Heroes - How the Criminal Legal System & the Courts Fail to Administer the Death Penalty Fairly & Effectively – Sister Helen Prejean (New Orleans, LA)
9:25 am Avenues to Explore When You Think You Don’t Have Any Possible Mitigation  – Salima Pirmohamed (Sugar Land, TX)
10:25 am Refreshment Break
10:45 pm How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love McCoy v. Louisiana: How it Impacts our Practice and the Ethical Considerations for Capital Defenders – Richard Bourke (New Orleans, LA)
11:45 pm Skipper Investigation and Presentation: Adapting to Jail and Prison Neighborhoods  – Mark Donatelli (Santa Fe, NM)
12:45 pm Lunch break on your own
2:15 pm RAP ON TRIAL:  When Rap Lyrics (and Other Forms of Expression) are Used against Your Client – Andrea L. Dennis (Athens, GA)
3:15 pm How to Effectively Work with an Expert – Expert (Oakland, CA)
4:15 pm Refreshment Break
4:30 pm Race-based Traumatic Stress: Potential Implication for Mitigation - Dr. Robert Carter, Ph.D (New York, NY)
5:30 pm Adjourn for the day
Friday, August 26, 2022
7:00 am Exhibits and Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Morning Announcements - Program Co-Chairs
8:30 am Storytelling/Storyboarding – Christopher Adams (Charleston, SC)
9:30 am Storytelling in the Context of Mental Health (Symptomology vs. Diagnosis) – Expert (Oakland, CA)
10:40 am Refreshment Break
11:00 am Mitigation in Capital Cases: Revealing the Rest of the Story – Emily Hughes (Iowa City, IA)
12:00 pm Lunch break on your own
1:30 pm Understanding the Capital Juroy from the Inside Out – Scott Sundby (Coral Gables, FL)
2:30 pm The Morgan Method of Jury Selection A Primer – Richard Jaffe (Birmingham, AL)
3:30 pm Refreshment Break
3:50 pm Using a Narrator: One Voice is All Your Client Needs – William O. 'Bill' James, Jr. (Little Rock, AR)
4:50 pm Penalty Phase Closing Arguments – Stephen Bright (New Haven, CT)
5:50 pm Seminar Adjourns until 2023 in Las Vegas!


CLE Information

NACDL is an accredited provider of CLE in all states requiring mandatory CLE Training. NACDL will apply for at least 12 credit hours in every state requiring pre-approval. Approved hours for each state will be identified at the seminar. Some states, IL, GA, NC, NE, NM, PA and UT require additional fees by the attendee in order to receive credit.


Astor Crowne Plaza
739 Canal St @ Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70130

Phone Reservations: 1-877-408-9661
Online Reservations:
Group Discount Rate: $99 + tax (Expires August 3, 2022). Please mention "NACDL Making the Case For Life" to receive applicable discount rate.
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed if the block has been sold-out prior to the cut-off date.

Questions? Contact Director of Events Akvile Athanason at or call (202) 872-8600 x630.

Sponsorship and Exhibits

Disclaimer: NACDL does not necessarily endorse or guarantee the quality, applicability, or discounts of the products and/or services of its exhibitors. Users of these products and/or services do so at their sole discretion and NACDL assumes no responsibility for them.

For information on exhibiting or sponsorships, please contact NACDL's Sales and Marketing Manager Jason Petty at or call (202) 465-7637.

Sponsor/Exhibit Prospectus

NACDL would like to thank the following sponsors, exhibitors, and affinity partners for their support and contributions:


still available...

GOLD Sponsor:

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SILVER Sponsor:

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BRONZE Sponsor:

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Event Sponsors:

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Wi-Fi Sponsor:

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Seminar Materials Sponsor:

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Lanyards Sponsor:

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Tote Bag Sponsor:

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Garrett Discovery, Inc.


Needs Based Scholarships

Based on need, scholarships are available to NACDL members for up to 50% off the standard seminar fee of $299. Approved recipients are responsible for the remainder of the tuition fee, which is $150 (all other expenses are not included). The reduced scholarship fee includes seminar tuition, admission to all evening social events, and downloadable seminar materials. Travel, hotel, and other costs are not included.

To Apply: Prepare and e-mail a letter of no more than two pages explaining the reason why you believe you should receive the grant to: NACDL Director of Events Akvile Athanason, at All applications must be submitted before registering for the seminar and received by July 30, 2022.



Register Online Register by PDF Materials

Members of NACDL enjoy exclusive registration rates for our seminars along with all the benefits from joining.

Registration Fees
Regular, Life, and Sustaining Members $299
Non Members (includes 1 year membership)  $449
ALL Public Defenders $269
ALL Mitigation Specialists $269
ALL Investigators $269
Groups of 4 or more PDs (must register at the same time; 1 payment; no changes or cancellations allowed). To register a group, please visit: $229
Non-Attendee Materials / Recordings
Course Materials on CD-Rom $150
Audio Recordings of Seminar (Non-Attendee) $150
Pre-Order Video DVD Recording of Seminar $299

Code of Conduct

NACDL endeavors to foster a working, learning, and social environment free of harassment, discrimination, intimidation, and insult. To that end, NACDL has adopted a Code of Conduct for Affiliated Persons that applies to all attendees and participants of any kind at all NACDL sponsored events.

Learn More