Before they go to court, new deputy district attorneys have a lot to learn.
Sixteen new prosecutors joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (LADA) last month and are spending their first weeks learning the basics of prosecuting criminal cases.
Over the next six months, LADA’s newest employees will prepare for the realities of being a criminal prosecutor in the nation’s largest local prosecutorial office.
Their new training schedule, adopted at the behest of their predecessors, focuses on learning and then doing in quick succession. In the past, new hires spent six weeks in the classroom and then were sent out to courtrooms to practice what they had learned.
New deputy district attorneys now receive two weeks of course-work from veterans on fundamental court skills and how to properly conduct a preliminary hearing. They then move from classroom to courtroom to get practical courtroom experience.
After that, the new prosecutors return to the classroom for three weeks of interactive study on prosecuting misdemeanor trials. As part of the training, mock trial exercises are videotaped so these presentations may be reviewed, critiqued and then made better.
Again, the deputy district attorneys go back to court to try their first misdemeanor cases. After a final week of classroom training, they are assigned to branch and area offices.
This year, 48 new prosecutors are expected to join LADA and take part in training, with new classes starting in August and November.
The new prosecutors fill positions vacated through attrition.