Annual Trial Skills Update Seminar



November 4, 2023 @ 8:30 am 3:30 pm

We regret to inform you that the Annual Trail Skills Update conference, originally set for Saturday, November 4, 2023 has been canceled.

This event has been postponed.

Annual Trial Skills Update Seminar
Saturday, November 4, 2023


8:30 A.M. – 9:30 A.M. | Voir Dire/ Elimination of Bias/ Implicit Bias
MCLE: 1.0 Hour Elimination of Bias

The history of exclusion of people from jury service based on race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, and sexuality or sexual identity has permeated through the criminal justice system.  Batson/Wheeler addressed intentional discrimination in the use of peremptory challenges but failed to address the more pervasive use of implicit bias to justify otherwise unlawful challenges using the veil of “race-neutral” justifications.  This session discusses the ways in which CCP 231.7 eliminates implicit bias thus ensuring more diversity among jurors.


  • Tamani Taylor, Deputy Public Defender, San Francisco Office of the Public Defender
9:40 A.M.- 10:10 A.M | Opening Statements: The Road Map to Making Your Case in Opening Statements
MCLE: 0.50 hour

How does an attorney effectively begin a jury trial? This session of the Trial Skills Update seminar will focus on the nuts and bolts of effective opening statements.  It will provide dependable techniques to craft a powerful opening statement, while highlighting ways to enhance delivery for those seeking to grab the attention of the jurors.  Common pitfalls will be discussed and ways to avoid them providing session attendees with all skills needed to create and convey powerful opening statements.


  • Brian Roberts, Deputy District Attorney, Marin County District Attorney
  • Michi K. Yamamoto, San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

Brian Roberts is a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Marin. Brian is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and has been a prosecutor for 11 years, specializing in the prosecution of crimes against children and women.

10:20 A.M. – 11:20 A.M. | Introduction of Evidence
MCLE: 1.0 Hour

The effective use of documentary and physical evidence is critical to a strong trial presentation.  This session will address how to properly and efficiently introduce different types of evidence at trial, such as business records, emails, audio and video recordings, and physical evidence.  The speakers will also provide practical tips about how lawyers can use documentary evidence to guide and structure their direct and cross examinations.  Finally, the speakers will discuss how to address and avoid common evidentiary issues that arise during trial. 


  • Julian Andre, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery LLP
  • Kevin Lally, Partner, McguireWoods

Julian AndrĂ© is partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Los Angeles.  His practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement and compliance matters, internal investigations, and complex civil litigation.  Julian honed his trial skills as an Assistant US Attorney in Los Angeles, where he led numerous high-profile prosecutions. As an AUSA in the Major Frauds Section of the US Attorney’s Office, Julian specialized in complex financial crimes and fraud offenses, including healthcare fraud, securities fraud, bank fraud, education fraud, tax crimes, and money laundering.

Julian André
11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M. | Direct Examinations: Your Witness Tells Your Story Cross Examinations: Cross Examination With a Plan, Control, and Confidence
MCLE: 1.0 Hour

A quick look at key critical issues related to Direct and Cross Examination including issues related to proper impeachment of witnesses. Attorneys Alan Yochelson, Marjaneh Maroufi, and Albert Camacho will discuss the examination of witnesses.  They will describe and demonstrate the differences between conducting a direct examination and a cross examination of a witness and explain how to approach each one.  Additionally, they will discuss and demonstrate how to impeach a witness through cross examination.


  • Alan Yochelson, Head Deputy District Attorney, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office
  • Albert Camacho, Public Defender, Los Angeles County
  • Marjaneh Maroufi, Deputy Public Defender, Solano County Alternate Public Defender’s Office

Mr. Yochelson is a Head Deputy District Attorney for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where he has served since 1981.  He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Southwestern University School of Law.  Mr. Yochelson has worked in several assignments, including the Career Criminal, Sex Crimes, Special Investigations, and Juvenile Divisions.  He served as second chair in People v. Richard Ramirez (the “Nightstalker”), and as co-counsel in People v. Laurence Powell, et al., (the “Rodney King” police misconduct prosecutions), and People v. O.J. Simpson.  He currently is the Head Deputy of the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division.  He is a past chair of the California State Bar Criminal Law Section Executive Committee, and California Committee of Bar Examiners, where he is currently a member, and previously served on the California Commission on Judicial Nominee Evaluations.  The views expressed in this presentation are his own.

Ms. Maroufi has been a public defender since 2003 and currently works at the Solano County Alternate Public Defender’s Office.  As a long-time public defender, she is dedicated to racial justice, the models of collaborative courts, and the empowerment of her clients. Currently, her focus includes drug court, mental health court, juvenile delinquency and conservatorships.

Ms. Maroufi is the Chair of the Criminal Law Section of the California Lawyers Association.  

1:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. | Closing Arguments: Closing Argument Brings It All Together for the Jurors
MCLE: .50 Hour

A great closing argument must tell a story and keep the jury engaged.  This session will address how to deliver a compelling closing argument that builds on the themes and points raised during opening statement, integrates the key evidence and testimony developed during trial, and appropriately navigates any bad facts or counter-arguments.  The speakers will also discuss the key differences between prosecution and defense closing arguments, provide practical tips regarding the use of audio and visual guides during closing argument, and highlight some common pitfalls to avoid.  


  • Cuauhtemoc Ortega, Federal Public Defender, Central District of California
  • Eddie Jauregui, Partner, Holland & Knight
2:10 P.M.- 3:10 P.M. | Criminal Appeals: Disaster Preparedness: Making A Record And Protecting Your Client While Thinking About Appeals
MCLE: 1.0 hour

This session will introduce trial lawyers to the appellate process. It will focus on foundational principles governing criminal appeals and on the various standards of appellate review. It seeks to help trial lawyers think not only of how to be effective advocates in the courtroom, but also of what they can do before, during, and after a trial to preserve issues for appeal and maximize the chances of having an unfavorable trial outcome reversed.


  • Gary Rowe, Deputy Federal Public Defender, Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California

Gary Rowe worked as an appellate and capital habeas lawyer at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California for eight-and-a-half years, until June 2023. While at the Federal Defender’s Office, he was also a member of two federal death penalty trial teams, responsible for motion practice and appellate preservation. Prior to joining the Defender’s Office, he worked as a civil appellate lawyer and as a law professor, primarily at the UCLA School of Law, where he taught courses in civil procedure, constitutional law, federal courts, and legal history. He currently practices civil rights law.

Gary Rowe

Registration Information

  • $175 for Criminal Law Section Members
  • $275 for Non-Section Members and All Other Non-Members
  • $125 for Government, Non-profit Attorneys
  • $125 for New Lawyers Section Members
  • Free for Current Law Students

Registration Deadline: The deadline to register is November 1, 2023.

Cancellations/Refunds: Requests must be received in writing by Wednesday, October 25, 2023. A $25 processing fee will be charged for requests received after Wednesday, October 25, 2023. For more information, call (916) 516-1757.

Special Assistance: For special assistance, please call 916-516-1743.

Questions: For registration information, call (916) 516-1757. For program content and/or Section information call 916-516-1743.

This event may be recorded. By attending this event, you consent to be photographed, filmed, and/or otherwise recorded, and to any use, by the CLA, of your likeness, voice, and name in any and all media including social media. If you do not want your name or photo to be used, please let us know in advance. We cannot, however, honor requests to opt out of the use of your image or voice if you choose to ask a question during one of the event sessions.