DEATH PENALTY (4-DAY TRAINING): Approx 25 continuing ed credits

The Clarence Darrow Death Penalty College is an annual training program for capital defense attorneys, mitigation specialists, and capital investigators held in downtown Iowa City at the University of Iowa College of Law, located in the heart of the campus.

Tuition for the 2017 four-day capital defense training is $1600, including housing. Scroll down for details and registration links.

Participants spend the week working on their own pending cases as well as learning from some of the most prestigious capital defense trainers in the country. Each day, participants engage in various learning activities, including small group sessions, lectures, role playing, and strategy demonstrations for guilt/innocence and penalty phases.

Small group sessions are designed to provide constructive feedback and encouragement while also brainstorming the case and doing actual case preparation for the capital trial. These sessions are followed by lectures and demonstrations for smaller groups or plenary sessions for all participants. Evenings are primarily unscheduled, allowing participants to explore all that Iowa City has to offer.

The program is held in honor of the late Professor David Baldus, whose thorough, groundbreaking capital punishment research significantly impacted the death penalty defense community and legal community as a whole. Professor Baldus is best known for “the Baldus study,” cited by the United States Supreme Court in McCleskey v. Kemp, although his research extends far beyond.

Click here to view schedule and speaker bios

IMPACT ADVOCACY (2-DAY TRAINING): 10 hrs continuing ed credits

The Impact Advocacy Program is a two-day long intensive, interactive training program for mitigation specialists, investigators, attorneys, and psychologists. The goal is to understand how psychologists and attorneys, in conjunction with their teams, interact in cases involving criminal defendants who face lengthy maximum sentences and/or capital punishment.

Tuition for the 2017 two-day Impact Advocacy defense training is $300 (not including housing). Scroll down for details and registration links.

All participants will learn practical mitigation strategies. They will also learn how psychologists can help explain to the court the impact of lengthy maximum sentences and/or capital punishment on criminal defendants via the latest neuroscience and behavior research. Through small group exercises, simulations, and presentations, participants will better understand risk factors that affect criminal defendants as well as mitigation concepts and general advocacy for use in state and federal courts. The skills learned through this training are directly applicable to all forms of impact advocacy, including not just trials, but also sentencing, negotiations, juvenile reverse waivers, preparing defense presentencing memorandums, and more.

Psychologists and their colleagues will have the opportunity to learn relevant case law, court rules, evidentiary and other discovery rules and timelines that impact their consultations, depositions, and testimony. Through small group exercises, simulations, and presentations, psychologists and their colleagues will learn and practice skills for forensic interviews and evaluations, how to work alongside attorneys and their teams on criminal cases, and how to translate current neuroscience and behavioral research into a legal context. This training also provides an opportunity for psychologists to meet fellow colleagues and attorneys for future case consultations.

Click here to view schedule and speaker bios



The training will take place at the University of Iowa College of Law, located in downtown Iowa City in the heart of the campus. Iowa City is a college town filled with coffee shops, bookstores, good restaurants, and live music. A block of hotel rooms has been reserved at the Iowa House, which is about a 15-minute walk from the law school. Shuttles will be provided to and from the hotel every day. The nearest airport is the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids (CID).


All participants, faculty, and staff of the Darrow College are required to sign confidentiality agreements before the week begins. Case details do not leave the Darrow College, and participants must be committed to capital defense work. Participants have reported that the collegial atmosphere of the small group workshops is effective for strategizing difficult capital cases. In the sometimes isolated world of death penalty defense, joining colleagues who understand the stress of representing a client facing death is a reaffirming experience.


Early Bird Pricing:

Full program (no housing): $1,200
Full program (with housing): $1,600
Two-Day Impact Advocacy Program (May 24-25)(no housing): $300* (contact us directly if you need housing for the two-day program)