YDAP Summer Academy

A weeklong intensive Youth Defender Advocacy Program (YDAP) training

Each summer, in partnership with Georgetown Law’s Juvenile Justice Clinic & Initiative, we host Summer Academy, a weeklong intensive Youth Defender Advocacy Program (YDAP) training for 42 youth defenders selected from a national pool of applicants. The program, which covers both substantive law and trial skills, is crafted to fit the needs of both new and experienced youth defenders and is available by application only.

The Youth Defender Advocacy Program (YDAP) is a youth defense trial advocacy curriculum developed to strengthen youth defense as a specialized practice and enhance the capacity of youth defenders to provide meaningful, high-quality representation to their clients at every stage of the juvenile legal system. YDAP provides both substantive legal analysis and skills training. It was developed by the Gault Center, in collaboration with experts and leaders in the youth defense community from around the country, along with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Initiative. The curriculum threads adolescent development, racial justice, research, and data in each lesson and includes general topics, such as the role of the youth defense attorney, adolescent development, and trial practice skills, as well as specialized issues, such as defending against sex charges and transfer to adult court.

The goal of Summer Academy is to strengthen the skills of each defender who attends the program and to grow the community of youth defense.

There is a modest fee to attend Summer Academy; it is due at registration, and covers training materials, some meals, and CLE credit approval. Participants are responsible for their own housing and travel expenses. Application and admission to YDAP Summer Academy is limited to front-line defenders.

In selecting participants, our goal is to ensure each YDAP Summer Academy class is filled with a diverse range of defenders. The following are some of the criteria we will consider in the selection process:

  • Years and scope of experience in defense practice;
  • Years and scope of experience in youth defense practice;
  • Current youth defense caseload;
  • Geographic location;
  • Public defenders and private practitioners;
  • Diversity.

General Timeline for Summer Academy Application Process (dates will be adjusted each year):

Fall/Winter: Open call for new applications (sign up for our listservs to receive an email announcing the call for applications)

January: Deadline to submit applications

February: Decisions announced

March: Deadline for all participants to register and pay registration fee

June: six days, Sunday through Friday, YDAP SUMMER ACADEMY