Southern Public Defender Training Center

The Southern Public Defender Training Center (SPDTC) began as a project of SCHR, and is now a nonprofit organization based in Atlanta. SPDTC was established to build a community of committed, zealous, client-centered public defenders throughout the southeast that will lead the charge to transform the public defender culture in the region.  


Public defenders in the program participate in an initial, fourteen-day training designed to introduce the public defender to general lessons about considerations that impact the work of a public defender, as well as programs on pre-trial practice and trial skills.  This initial "boot-camp" style training is supplemented with five, semi-annual, weekend-long training programs over the next three years.  In addition to training these lawyers to be excellent public defenders, the program will offer these lawyers a network of colleagues and trainers from who they can turn for support, to share litigation strategies, and to exchange resources.  

On January 30, 2010, SPDTC graduated its inaugural class of public defenders, a group that began in August 2007. Eleven young attorneys from New Orleans' newly reconstituted Orleans Public Defender office were joined by five new public defenders from the Fulton County (Atlanta) Public Defender office.