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2021 Fall Seminar - Walking the Line

Omni Nashville Hotel, Nashville, TN - 15.0 Credits/1.0 Ethics Credit

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

There could not be a better location for a CLE on Storytelling and Communication than "Music City," home of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Join us for NACDL's 2021 Fall Seminar will be held on November 3-6, 2021 at Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville, TN.

The ability to fluidly and effectively communicate is a natural skill possessed by few people, so for the average lawyer, it is a skill that must be learned and developed. The three essential tools we use to influence juries and judges on behalf of our clients are storytelling, communication, and persuasion, and the outcome of every trial relies solely upon your ability to adequately implement persuasive techniques to convey your message.

It is paramount that defense counsel be well-versed with modern strategies and insights in this area. Having persuasive techniques in your arsenal can dramatically sway opinion, and, impact the direction of your client’s case—both pre-trial and in trial.

Join NACDL for its Fall seminar at The Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville, TN, November 3-6, 2021, and learn how to gain the upper hand in your next case by understanding the concept of personality as persuasion, how to use improv, and where to find and tell the winning story. This groundbreaking NACDL seminar will teach you how to ethically advocate on behalf of your client with proven communication strategies when relating to witnesses, experts, judges, and prosecutors, and persuading jurors of your theory of defense. You will gain the insight of time-tested techniques used by some of the best litigators and storytellers in the country and start implementing your power to persuade when communicating with all audiences. With the recognition that victories can occur at every stage of representation, this program is specifically designed to provide you with powerful skills to help you achieve success – both in and out of the courtroom. Small group workshops will be available for those who desire additional hands-on training.

Join your colleagues from around the country for another world-class NACDL CLE, and return home a better, more effective communicator—Register today!


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 attendees will be required 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). 
  2. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the hotel property, including at the entrance to all meeting rooms. 
  3. The seminar room will be arranged with socially distanced tables/chairs to the best of our ability.
  4. Daily health check measures will be instituted before gaining access to the seminar, including a 3-point questionnaire, and a temperature check.
  5. All participants will need to self-certify they have received the full dosage of a vaccine for COVID-19 prior to attending.


The program agenda and faculty are subject to change.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021
3:00-6:00 pm Early Registration & Exhibit Hall Open
Thursday, November 4, 2021
7:15 am Registration & Exhibits & Continental Breakfast
8:10 am Welcoming Remarks – NACDL President Martin Sabelli (San Francisco, CA) & Program Co-Chairs Kelli Childress (El Paso, TX), Stephen Ross Johnson (Knoxville, TN), Colette Tvedt (Denver, CO), and Lisa Wayne (Denver, CO)
8:25 am Telling the Winning Story: Cast Your Client In The Right Role and Maximize Your Damages – Jesse Wilson (Colorado Springs, CO)
9:55 am Creating Unforgettable Riffs with Universal Truths – Fredilyn Sison (Asheville, NC)
10:55 am Exhibits, Networking & Refreshment Break
11:10 am Bottled Spontaneity: Improv for Lawyers – Martin Sabelli (San Francisco, CA)
12:10 pm Every Time the Beat Drops: The Value of Finding Your Authentic Voice – Martesha L. Johnson (Nashville, TN) and Georgia Sims (Nashville, TN)
1:10 pm Let's Talk About Race: Communication Techniques to Get Jurors Talking in Voir Dire - James W. Smith, III (Orlando, FL)
2:10 pm Adjourn for the day
2:15 - 3:15pm Small Group Storytelling Workshop with Jesse Wilson (Limited to 10 people)
2:30 pm Group Networking Outings
5:30 - 7:30 pm

Welcoming Reception – Grand View Terrace, The Omni Hotel

Gold Sponsor:

Silver Sponsor:


Friday, November 5, 2021
7:15 am Registration, Exhibits & Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Morning Announcements – Program Co-Chairs Kelli Childress (El Paso, TX), Stephen Ross Johnson (Knoxville, TN), Colette Tvedt (Denver, CO), and Lisa Wayne (Denver, CO)
8:30 am Persuasion Through Narrative: Making Stories Matter – Matthew Taylor (Denver, CO)
8:30 - 9:30am Small Group Storytelling Workshop with Jesse Wilson (Limited to 10 people)
9:30 am Using the Client's Voice to Communicate Your Theory – Denise de la Rue (Atlanta, GA)
10:30 am Exhibits, Networking & Refreshment Break
10:50 am The "3Rs" of Sentencing Storytelling Through Video – Doug Passon (Scottsdale, AZ)
11:50 am Race, Culture, and Storytelling – Jennifer Willis (New York, NY)
12:50 pm Psychological Seduction: How to Become a Courtroom Influencer – Kelli Childress (El Paso, TX)
1:50 pm Adjourn for the day
2:30 pm Group Networking Outings
Saturday, November 6, 2021
7:15 am Registration, Exhibits & Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Morning Announcements – Program Co-Chairs Kelli Childress (El Paso, TX), Stephen Ross Johnson (Knoxville, TN), Colette Tvedt (Denver, CO), and Lisa Wayne (Denver, CO)
8:30 am The Nature, Detection, and Psychology of Deception – Dyke Huish (Mission Viejo, CA)
10:00 am The Joy of Storytelling Through Cross: How to Cross like Bob Ross – Guy Cardamone (Madison, WI)
11:00 am Exhibits, Networking & Refreshment Break
11:20 am Using Creative Demonstrative Evidence to Communicate Your Defense Theory & Theme – Stephen Lindsay (Asheville, NC)
12:20 pm The Trial Penalty and Ethics: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extincton and How to Save It – Stephen Ross Johnson (Knoxville, TN)
1:20 pm Seminar Adjourns
2:00 pm Group Networking Outings


CLE Information

NACDL is an accredited provider of CLE in all states requiring mandatory CLE Training. NACDL will apply for at least 15 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, TN and UT require additional fees by the attendee in order to receive credit.


Omni Nashville Hotel
250 5th Ave South
Nashville, TN 37203

Phone Reservations: 1-800-843-6664
Online Reservations: NACDL 2021 Fall Meeting
Group Rate: $259 + tax (Expires Friday, October 8, 2021). Please mention NACDL 2021 Fall Meeting to receive applicable discount rate. 
Rooms/discounted group rates are not guaranteed if the block has been filled prior to the cut-off date.

A limited number of rooms at government per diem rate are currently available for NACDL Public Defender Members. For more information, please contact Director of Events Akvile Athanason at or call (202) 872-8600 x630.

Sponsorship and Exhibits

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:

still available...


Garrett Discovery, Inc.
The McHard Firm
Surecell Data Solutions
Watson & Associates: Truth Verification Consultants


Needs Based Scholarships

Based on need, scholarships are available to NACDL members for up to 50% off the standard seminar fee of $419. Approved recipients are responsible for the remainder of the tuition fee, which is $210 (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 or fax 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 October 5, 2021.



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 $419
Associate, Professor, "New Lawyer" and International Members $309
Non Members (includes 1 year membership)  $728
ALL Public Defenders $309
ALL Tenessee Lawyers (Residents Only) $384
ALL Regional Lawyers (AL, AR, GA, KY, MS, NC) $369
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: $279
Non-Attendee Guest/Spouse Events Package $100
Non-Attendee Materials / Recordings
Written Materials Only $150
Audio Recording 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.

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