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2024 Making the Case for Life Seminar

New Orleans Marriott, New Orleans, LA - 12.5 Credits/1.0 Ethics Credit

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

Program Summary:

Make the case...for your client's life at NACDL's 26th 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!


The program agenda and faculty are subject to change.

Wednesday, August 28, 2024
3:30-6:00 pm Early Registration & Exhibits
Thursday, August 29, 2024
7:30 am Registration, Exhibits, and Continental Breakfast
8:20 am Welcome, Introductions, Announcements – NACDL President Christopher Wellborn (Rock Hill, SC) and Program Co-Chairs Jerilyn Bell (Atlanta, GA), Theresa M. Duncan (Santa Fe, NM), Shaffy Moeel (Oakland, CA), Casey Secor (Lexington, SC), and S. Boyd Young (Columbia, SC)
8:35 am Settling Capital Cases: Client Relationships and Pleas – Robert Hill (Indianapolis, IN)
9:45 am The Last 100 Days: Turning A Mitigation Narrative Into A Penalty Phase Presentation – Kate O’Shea (Sarasota, FL) and Casey Secor (Lexington, SC)
10:55 am Refreshment Break
11:15 am Resources for Cash-Strapped Teams – Elizabeth Vartkessian (Baltimore, MD)
12:15 pm Lunch break on your own
1:45 pm The Cherry, Not The Sundae: Effectively Utilizing Neuroimaging in Capital Cases – Kate O’Shea (Sarasota, FL) and Allison Miller (Pinellas Park, FL)
2:45 pm Focus Groups: A Sneak Peek at A Jury's Reaction to Your Case – Denise deLaRue (Decatur, GA)
3:45 pm Refreshment Break
4:05 pm Capital Voir Dire – Vivian Hernandez (Arlington, VA)
5:05 pm Adjourn for the day
Friday, August 30, 2024
7:00 am Exhibits and Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Morning Announcements - Program Co-Chairs
8:30 am Day 2 Keynote: The Choose Love Movement – Scarlett Lewis (Newtown, CT)
9:30 am Ethically Representing Clients Suffering from Mental Illness – Richard Bourke (New Orleans, LA)
10:30 am Refreshment Break
10:50 am Representing Veterans with PTSD – David Ferrier (Rockledge, FL)
11:50 am Lunch break on your own
1:20 pm The Role of Quantitative EEG in the Diagnosis of Neuropsychiatric Disorders – Dr. Wes Center (Fort Worth, TX)
2:30 pm RICO & Gangs – Richard Novak (Pasadena, CA)
3:30 pm Refreshment Break
3:50 pm Florida’s Non-Unanimous Jury Statute and Other Terrible, No Good Laws Coming to a State Near You – Allison Miller (Pinellas Park, FL)
4:50 pm Seminar Adjourns until 2025 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 12.50 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, SC, TN and UT require additional fees by the attendee in order to receive credit.


New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

Phone Reservations: (800) 535-4028
Online Reservations:
Group rate: $139 + tax  (expires August 7, 2024)Please mention NACDL to receive applicable discount rate. 
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed once the block has been filled.  

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:

still available...

SILVER Sponsor:

still available...

BRONZE Sponsor:

still available..

Event Sponsors:

still available...

Wi-Fi Sponsor:

still available...

Seminar Materials Sponsor:

still available...

Lanyards Sponsor:

still available...

Tote Bag Sponsor:

Garrett Discovery
Godoy Medical Forensics, Inc.


NACDL offers a variety of scholarships for this event ranging from partially discounted to fully funded. Each type of scholarship has different application requirements. To apply for any of the following scholarships, please follow the instructions for that specific scholarship.

OPTION 1: Needs Based Scholarships

Based on need, scholarships are available to NACDL members for up to 50% off the standard seminar fee of $309. Approved recipients are responsible for the remainder of the tuition fee, which is $155 (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 Senior Director of Events Akvile Athanason, at
All applications must be submitted before registering for the seminar and received by July 31, 2024.


OPTION 2: Public Defense Scholarships

As a result of generous grant funding, NACDL is able to offer scholarship assistance to public defense providers to attend this NACDL training program. Scholarships will be awarded in the form of full or partial reimbursement of the registration costs of the program. Limited travel reimbursement stipends may also be awarded to qualifying individuals to help defray the costs of travel and lodging.
Completed public defense scholarship applications should be emailed to: 

Apply for a Public Defense Scholarship  


Register Online Register by PDF

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

Registration Fees
NACDL MEMBERS: Regular, Life, President's Club and Sustaining Members $309
NACDL MEMBERS: Public Defender, Associate, Investigator, Professor, New Lawyer, International and Military  $259
Non-Members: Private Practitioners (includes 1-year membership)  $459
Non-Member Public Defenders $279
ALL Lousiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi Lawyers (Residents Only) $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: $249
Non-Attendee Materials / Recordings
Audio Recording of Seminar (pre-sale) $225
Video Recording of Seminar (pre-sale) $299

CANCELLATIONS: There is a $75 cancellation fee. Cancellations must be received in writing via e-mail to by 5:30 pm E.T. Friday, August 23, 2024, to receive a refund, less the cancellation fee. No refunds can be issued after the cancellation deadline.

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.

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