Upcoming Seminars

Upcoming HAT Seminars 

Capital Mitigation Skills Workshop II
May 18-21, 2023
University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Austin, TX

One of the legal profession’s most important obligations is to provide zealous representation to persons facing the death penalty, which includes thorough investigation and effective presentation of mitigation evidence. Other national seminars address the substantive and procedural aspects of capital post-conviction representation, as well as the development and integration of mitigation evidence. This unique program provides skills training for the attorneys, investigators, and mitigation specialists who are developing mitigation evidence in capital post-conviction cases. The Habeas Assistance and Training Counsel, the National Mitigation Coordinator, the University of Texas Law School Capital Punishment Clinic and School of Social Work, and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, DSO Training Division are pleased to cosponsor this unique program.

The Thirteenth Capital Mitigation Skills Workshop offered twelve times since 2012 will consist of a combination of lectures and interactive exercises designed to develop the basic skills required in the development of mitigation evidence in death penalty cases. Utilizing a case hypothetical, participants will brainstorm about potential mitigation themes and identify “red flags” requiring investigation. Life-history records will be reviewed to identify themes, hypotheses, questions, and investigative follow-up. Interviewing exercises in small groups will cover a variety of areas, including trauma, the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, and cognitive impairments and adaptive deficits. Other exercises will include working with mental health experts and drafting declarations. The seminar will also emphasize the importance of case organization and the basic mitigation tool kit (including genograms and chronologies).

Attendance will be limited to thirty-six participants, who will work in six small groups. Priority will be given to mitigation specialists and attorneys who are directly engaged in the mitigation function. We are also committed to increasing the diversity of the pool of professionals engaged in this work. If you have attended this program in the past, please do not attempt to register again. We need to reserve the limited number of spaces for people who have not had the opportunity to attend previously.

To ensure the health and safety of all those attending the event and to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, we kindly ask that the following guidelines be observed:
• Please refrain from attending this event if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days.
• If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, please test with a self-administered rapid antigen test prior to the event.
• If you have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the last 5 days, please consider a mask when not actively eating or drinking.
We also ask that you review current protocols and guidelines before registering and plan accordingly. For current COVID Community Levels by County, please visit CURRENT CDC COVID-19 Info.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hilton Garden Inn Austin University Capitol District. Once your registration has been confirmed, you will receive details on how to make lodging arrangements in our group block.

Because of the nature of the program and its necessarily more “hands on” approach, attendance has been limited to 36 participants. We ask that you use your work email address for registration purposes and to help eliminate duplication. For registration, please use this REGISTRATION LINK. You will be placed in “pending” status until we have an opportunity to confirm your eligibility for the program, and we will notify you within one week about whether you have been accepted for the program. If you are accepted, you will receive a confirmation email of your enrollment in the program, and you will be provided information on how to make your hotel reservation.

**Those who register will have an opportunity to complete a voluntary self-identification questionnaire that helps us collect demographic data about the people we are reaching in advertising this program. Completion of the questionnaire is purely voluntary, and neither the completion of the questionnaire nor the information collected will affect who is selected to participate in the program.

Check in for the seminar is 4:00-5:00 pm, Thursday, May 18, 2023. The program will begin promptly at 5:00 pm and will run until 8:00 pm on Thursday. It will continue with full days on Friday and Saturday. The workshop will conclude Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 12:00 noon.

Faculty will include lawyers, mitigation specialists, and mental health experts.

Thank you for your interest in this very important program. If you have any questions regarding CLE or registration, please reach out to Rakita Johnson via email at Rakita_Johnson@ao.uscourts.gov or require additional logistical information, please contact Chastain Smith via email at