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2023 Making the Case for Life Seminar

Harrah's Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV - 14.0 Credits

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

Program Summary:

Make the case...for your client's life at NACDL's 25th 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 23, 2023
3:30-6:30 pm Early Registration & Exhibits
Thursday, August 24, 2023
7:30 am Registration, Exhibits, and Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Welcome, Introductions, Announcements – NACDL President Michael Heiskell (Fort Worth, TX) and Program Co-Chairs
8:25 am The First 100 DaysDavid Wymore (Boulder, CO) and Christopher Adams (Charleston, SC)
10:25 am Refreshment Break
10:45 pm Experts: Finding & Getting the Right Ones – Jacqueline K. Walsh (Seattle, WA)
11:45 pm Pre-trial Guilt Investigation - Finding Opportunities to Front Load Mitigation – S. Boyd Young (Columbia, SC) and Christopher Adams (Charleston, SC)
12:45 pm Lunch break on your own
2:15 pm Making Witnesses Feel Comfortable: Investigation and Mitigation in Nikolas Cruz Case – Nawal Bashimam (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and Kate O’Shea (Sarasota, FL)
3:15 pm Capital Voir Dire: The Nikolas Cruz Case – Nawal Bashimam (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and Casey Secor (Lexington, SC)
4:15 pm Refreshment Break
4:30 pm

PANEL: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder / Exposure –

Moderated by: S. Boyd Young (Columbia, SC)

Panelists: Nawal Bashimam (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), Kate O’Shea (Sarasota, FL), and Casey Secor (Lexington, SC)

5:30 pm Adjourn for the day
Friday, August 25, 2023
7:00 am Exhibits and Continental Breakfast
8:15 am Morning Announcements - Program Co-Chairs
8:30 am Using ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in Answering "How Did We Get Here?" – Dr. Adriana Flores (Atlanta, GA)
9:30 am Complex Record Collection: Assembling the Complete “Mitigation Library” – Juliet Yackel (Evanston, IL)
10:40 am Refreshment Break
11:00 am Finding Mitigation in Every Case: Community Mitigation, Building the Story, Cultural Competency – Theresa M. Duncan (Santa Fe, NM)
12:00 pm Lunch break on your own
1:30 pm Defense-Victim Outreach: Opportunities for Principled and Effective Engagement – Tammy Krause (Harrisonburg, VA)
2:30 pm Neuropsychology 101 for Capital Defenders – Dr. Joette James (Washington, DC
3:30 pm Refreshment Break
3:50 pm RAP ON TRIAL:  When Rap Lyrics (and Other Forms of Expression) are Used Against Your Client – Andrea Dennis (Athens, GA)
4:50 pm Race, Culture, and Voir Dire – Heather Pruss, Ph.D. (Louisville, KY)
5:50 pm Seminar Adjourns until 2024 in New Orleans!


CLE Information

NACDL is an accredited provider of CLE in all states requiring mandatory CLE Training. NACDL will apply for at least 14.00 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.


Harrah's Hotel & Casino
3475 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Phone Reservations: (888) 458-8471
Online Reservations:
Group Discount Rate: $59 (Wednesday and Thursday nights), $119 (Friday night) + $30 resort fee + tax (Expires August 2, 2023). Please mention group code SHNCD3 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:

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:


CaseFile Connect
Crossroads Investigations


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 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 July 25, 2023.


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 Materials

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

Registration Fees
NACDL MEMBERS: Regular, Life, and Sustaining Members $309
NACDL MEMBERS: Public Defenders, Associate, Professor, "New Lawyers"  $249
Non Members (includes 1 year membership)  $459
ALL Non-Member Public Defenders $279
ALL Mitigation Specialists $279
ALL Investigators $279
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: $239
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

CANCELLATIONS: There is a $75 cancellation fee. Cancellations must be received in writing via e-mail by 5:30 pm E.T. Friday, August 18, 2023, 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.

Learn More