Dean’s Message 2018

It is with great pleasure that I have the honor of being the 24th Dean for the National College for DUI Defense.  Our motto is Justice Through Knowledge and no other organization provides the DUI defense attorney with more educational opportunities to sharpen their skills and further the cause of justice than NCDD.  However, as members of this College I would remind all of us that with our membership comes great responsibility.  We can never allow our thirst for knowledge to diminish but why we all have the obligation to continue to advance in our practice, it is equally our duty to educate the defense bar, the prosecution and the bench.  For only then will justice truly be served. 

Our home has always been Austin Hall and our Summer Session continues to be our flagship program.  The continuous emphasis on trial skills, and intensive hands on small classroom training, ensures that our Summer Session will continue to be the premier program for the development of effective trial skills.  No other organization provides the DUI practitioner with a more comprehensive DUI defense trials skills curriculum than the National College.

Each fall, NCDD partners with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to host the nation’s largest DUI Defense CLE in Las Vegas.  This year, our program “Grand Slam Defenses” will take place at its usual home, the Bellagio.  This program’s format provides the attendee with a wide array of programs catered to practitioners of every level.  Because our two organizations exist for the same purpose, our College is proud that our relationship with NACDL is a strong one and will continue for many, many years. 

Each January, NCDD hosts its Winter Session in various locations nationwide.  This year, NCDD goes to Hollywood for the first time.  “To Live and DRE in LA” will focus exclusively on defending those accused of prescription drug DUIs.  National statistics show that in many jurisdictions prescription drug DUIs now exceed alcohol-related DUIs so this program comes at a vital time for our profession.  The addition of three simultaneous live DRE examinations on dosed subjects will give the attendee hands on experience that is not offered by any other organization outside law enforcement. 

Each spring, NCDD is proud to partner with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in presenting “Mastering Scientific Evidence.”  Now in its 26th year, MSE is the nation’s premier DUI forensic evidence seminar.  Offering some of the most recognized experts in this field, along with top flight trial lawyers, MSE provides the attendee with a rare mix of forensic evidence training and trial skills application.  Our mock trial, using many of the concepts discussed at MSE, gives our members not only the knowledge necessary, but the skills required to ensure that justice is served. 

Finally, for those that are truly committed to taking their practice to the highest level possible, “Serious Science for Serious Lawyers” is the most comprehensive and intensive DUI defense training anywhere in this nation.  Six full days of hands on lab experience followed by intensive trial skills workshops taught by some of this nation’s premier trial lawyers, Serious Science is a program like no other.  Put quite simply, there is not another program anywhere in the nation that will better equip the DUI defense attorney in our quest for “Justice Through Knowledge.” 

In addition to these educational opportunities, NCDD is proud of our work as Amicus Curiae on numerous United States Supreme Court and State Supreme Court cases.  In recent years, NCDD has authored memorandum in both Bullcoming v. New Mexico and Birchfield v. North Dakota, both DUI matters that appeared before the United States Supreme Court.  Our Virtual Forensic Library is the largest depository of forensic science journals, briefs, transcripts, motions and studies all with the DUI defense attorney in mind.  Membership does have its privilege and access to our 3,500+ scholarly journal library is just one of the many benefits of joining us in our quest for “Justice Through Knowledge.” 

Our crown jewel however, remains our Board Certification Exam.  NCDD is the ONLY ABA approved Board Certification Exam in the area of DUI Defense.  No other organization or association can provide an attorney with the opportunity to truly set themselves apart from the rest of their industry than NCDD Board Certification.  While the process is challenging, the benefits of obtaining Board Certification cannot be overstated.  I hope that all of you one day will choose to pursue the highest personal achievement in our profession.

NCDD is a College.  We are not an association, we are not a club, we are not an “organization.”  We are a College where we both educate and learn through the collective wisdom of over 1,600 members.  Our sole purpose is education, always has been, always will be.  But over the next year as Dean, I ask that all of us re-focus our attention to other equally important matters. 

As attorneys we fight very hard for the Constitution, justice, freedom and our clients.  But I ask that we dedicate the same energy and compassion in fighting for each other.  Our profession has been under attack for years.  Junk science, bad laws, a naïve judiciary and an ever-increasing hostile public has taken a toll on all of us both personally and professionally.  We need to start fighting for each other with the same passion and zeal as we do for our clients. 

The stress of the job coupled with the responsibilities of defending someone accused of impaired driving has taken a toll on many of us.  Collectively, the legal profession continues to do a wonderful job of taking care of our clients, but we are doing a terrible job of taking care of ourselves.  So let us all spend the next year and reach out to our colleagues with compassion and empathy in the sincere desire to assist anyone in need.  Let us work as hard to find a balance in our personal life as we do in our professional life.  Let us all spend a little more time looking inward then we do outward.  Let us all spend less time thinking with our head and more time thinking with out hearts. 

Finally, let us all start fighting for each other.  This is a lonely industry.  No one is rooting for us.  No one understands us.  Everyone hates us until the day they need us.  So let us remember, that in this industry, “we” are all we have, but “we” are all we ever need. 

I look forward to a fun and amazing year and I promise that I will work hard for your College. 

-William Kirk