Over at the State Bar today here in Atlanta, the Federal Defender Office is holding its annual Saint Crispin’s Day Seminar. Although I may be off a year or two, the FDP began holding this annual celebration over 10 years ago when Paul and I were still working in that office. The idea for the celebration was conceived by Tasha Silas, a long time federal criminal lawyer who has dedicated her life to public service.
The title of the seminar is a reference to Saint Crispin’s Day, and the Saint Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V; in Henry V, Henry gave a rallying speech to the outnumbered English forces in the Battle of Agincourt. The speech inspired the 9000 English forces to overcome the odds and win the battle against the French, whose forces were estimated to be 36,000. Those of us that handle federal criminal cases can attest to the fact that we fight against overwhelming odds on a daily basis, and the seminar is designed to inspire and energize us.
As always, the seminar is loaded with great speakers and great topics. Among other topics, there are sessions covering plea and sentencing issues in federal court, and federal criminal law updates from both the Eleventh Circuit and the Supreme Court.
It has been a really tough year for the folks that work over at the FDP office here in Atlanta. Because of federal funding issues, they have faced staff and budget cuts and increasing caseloads. In addition, earlier this year our cherished friend, Jake Waldrop, passed away. Jake’s death not only left a huge hole in our hearts but it also created an irreplaceable void in the FDP office.
One portion of the seminar today will provide an update on the Jake Waldrop FDP Scholarship Fund. This Scholarship Fund was created to honor Jake and to provide an opportunity for young lawyers to work as public defenders. So if you are headed to the seminar today, bring your checkbook or cash; this is one Fund that must be funded!
In addition to great speakers and great topics, the Saint Crispin’s Day seminar also serves up wonderful food and fellowship. The seminar is catered by DBA BBQ and the Happy Hour portion features music by Band of Brothers. The people that work in the FDP office are dedicated individuals who are in the trenches everyday doing everything they can to ensure that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel has real meaning. In addition to doing outstanding work, they put on one heck of a seminar. Head on over there today and enjoy some fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the federal criminal law community.
The full agenda can be found here.