Traditional TAP is a two-part trial advocacy program, where attorneys (1) learn how to try a case and (2) can have the option to try actual cases as pro bono publico prosecutors at prosecutorial agencies throughout California.
Traditional TAP was created in 1978 and has trained more than 1,800 attorneys, who have provided more than 280,000 hours of volunteer service trying actual cases to juries as pro bono publico prosecutors. While TAP Attorneys typically serve in Los Angeles County, they can serve at any city or county prosecutorial agency in California. Many have served in central and northern California.
TAP Attorneys come from all legal backgrounds, and include civil litigators, transactional & corporate attorneys, employment law attorneys, real estate attorneys, tax attornveys, bankruptcy attorneys, family law attorneys, and criminal law attorneys.
The first part of the Traditional TAP Program is a trial training course (the training class) taught by seasoned trial attorneys, who have civil and criminal experience. Combined, the instructors have over 450 trials to verdict.
The training class is held over a four-week period, once a year, in the fall, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is an 11-session trial advocacy course consisting of 8 weekday evenings (6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and 3 Saturdays (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
In the training class participants try 3 mock trials from start to finish. Participants argue motions in limine in the final pre-trial conference, conduct voir dire, exercise challenges for cause and peremptory challenges, give opening statements, present witnesses on direct examination, conduct cross-examination of adverse witnesses, attend jury instruction conferences, and deliver closing arguments.
The first mock trial is a straightforward case, where participants learn the anatomy of a trial. The second mock trial is a more complex case, where participants confront complicated evidentiary issues. And, the third mock trial is an advanced case, where participants learn how to develop a trial strategy in the absence of a critical witness based on the rules of evidence.
The training class is open to any attorney at any experience level. Admission to the training class is automatic through on-line enrollment and payment of the program fee. Attorneys earn 42.5 hours of participatory MCLE credit (including 4 hours of ethics and 3 hours of elimination of bias).
The second part of Traditional TAP is separate and distinct from the training class. Attorneys who complete the training class, under the following criteria, can be referred for service as volunteer pro bono publico prosecutors.
Referral to a prosecutorial agency for volunteer service is made at the discretion of the course instructors and based, in part, on the participant’s performance in the training class. Attorneys seeking referral must complete a TAP Agreement, which is distributed at the first session of the training class.
Referral is limited to participants who: (1) successfully complete the training class, (2) are active members of the State Bar of California, (3) before the commencement of the training class have either (a) completed the LA County Bar Association’s Introductory TAP course or (b) at least 2 years of civil or criminal litigation experience, and (4) do not miss 3 or more sessions of the training class (an evening class counts as 1 session; a Saturday class counts as 2 sessions). Additional prerequisites for, and information about, being referred to a prosecutorial agency are in the TAP Agreement.
Referral for service as a volunteer prosecutor expires 12 months after completion of the training class. Such service must commence within 12 months of completion of the training class.
Prosecutorial agencies typically expect TAP Attorneys to serve at least 3-4 weeks as volunteer prosecutors. Some agencies require service in consecutive weeks. Other agencies allow volunteer prosecutors to split up their 3-4 weeks of service, serving for a week or two and then returning later to complete another week or two of service. Some TAP Attorneys have served for less than 3-4 weeks, others have served for more. The exact length of service is up to the participant and the agency.
Attorneys with at least 2 years of civil or criminal litigation experience are not required to take Introductory TAP to qualify for referral to a prosecutorial agency. However, Introductory TAP is strongly recommended for all attorneys who want to be referred through Traditional TAP to a prosecutorial agency. Traditional TAP begins where Introductory TAP leaves off.
Enrollment in Introductory TAP is done on-line. Introductory TAP is offered several times a year – January, March, May and September. Attorneys who take the September Introductory TAP program are eligible for the Traditional TAP offered that Fall. Click here to learn more about Introductory TAP
Participation in the training class is limited to 14 attorneys per offering. A waitlist is common, and participants are often admitted from the waitlist. Attorneys on the waitlist should, therefore, keep the TAP schedule on their calendars so that they can participate when spots open up for them.
Traditional TAP (t-TAP)
$2,295 for LACBA members
$2,595 for all others
For questions on Traditional TAP (t-TAP), please contact the TAP administrator at TAP@lacba.org.
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