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Training Lawyers from Latin America for Over 20 Years

Instituto ATSA

California Western’s Instituto Latinoamericano de Derecho y Justicia (Latin American Institute of Law and Justice) recently welcomed more than 30 lawyers from across Latin America to their annual Advanced Trial Skills Academy.

Lawyers from Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico attended the 3-day course, which teaches them the skills to interrogate various types of witnesses during a trial.

This advanced program, offered by the Instituto’s ACCESO Capacitación program, is taught entirely in Spanish and trains lawyers to confront different types of witnesses, including police officers, experts, and fragile witnesses, as well as to interrogate them with confidence. This course consolidates, expands, and deepens the knowledge and skills acquired in previous ACCESO courses, in which participants learned and practiced the basic skills of cross-examination.

“As Latin American countries have transformed from the inquisitorial system to an adversarial oral trial system, the work of ACCESO Capacitación has been critical in giving lawyers the skills they need to work respectively in those systems,” says Karen Sigmond, Associate Director of the Instituto.

The cornerstone of all ACCESO courses is the “learning by doing” methodology by which lawyers practice the skills in the context of the training program using mock trial exercises.

Going forward, Rachel Carey, who recently joined the Instituto’s staff as Administrator, will be organizing ACCESO Capacitación programs throughout Latin America. Carey is a former San Diego County public defender who has spent the last 10 years teaching trial skills in Spanish all over Latin America and Mexico.

ACCESO has been offering the Advanced Trial Skills Academy course since 1998.

ACCESO Capacitación is one of four programs offered by California Western’s Instituto Latinoamericano de Derecho y Justicia. The other programs are Maestría en Derecho, the Mexican Moot Court Program, and REDlnocente. For more information on this program or to reserve a place in the next course, visit