Contra Costa County extends from San Francisco Bay eastward to the western edge of California's Central Valley.
The county seat, Martinez, is located 30 miles east of San Francisco and the county's western urban region lies along the Bay adjacent to the cities of Berkeley and Oakland.
Major cities in Contra Costa County include: Richmond, Concord, Pittsburg, Antioch, and Walnut Creek.
60% of attorneys are female
30% are persons of color
35 attorneys handle a felony case load
12 attorneys handle a misdemeanor caseload
9 attorneys handle a juvenile delinquency caseload
8 attorneys handle a specialty court or caseload
4 attorneys work with mental health clients (LPS/SVP/Hospital commitments/IST)
Central/East -- 43
West County -- 15
ADO -- 9
Management -- 7
Our office is a certified MCLE provider. The department has a Training Committee which regularly schedules training seminars for our staff. The seminars cover legal issues in each of our practice areas.
Our office also presents speakers from other fields on topics which have a bearing on our practice, such as immigration consequences, forensics, the effects of narcotics on the nervous system, and identifying and working with clients who are mentally ill. In addition, new attorneys receive intensive training by more experienced attorneys who work with them on preparing their cases. The training includes the following:
- basics of criminal law and misdemeanor practice
- common motions
- voir dire
- opening and closing statements
- direct and cross examination
- overall trial strategy
- interacting with clients and witnesses
New attorneys are also assigned a more experienced attorney as a mentor.
In addition to the regular in-house training seminars, we encourage attorneys to attend classes presented by other MCLE providers. Our attorneys frequently participate in California Public Defender Association and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice seminars, both as attendees and presenters. Attorneys receive an annual stipend which can be used to pay for educational materials and professional seminars.
Our office has a mentoring program for attorneys and law clerks. An experienced attorney is assigned as a mentor to each new attorney and any attorney who is transferring to a new practice area. The mentor is available to consult about general procedures and specific cases, to answer questions and to give advice. Law clerks are also assigned mentor attorneys.
Although law clerks do assignments for a variety of attorneys, their mentors are available to answer questions and advise them on their assignments. The mentor attorneys also ensure that the law clerks have the opportunity to observe court proceedings, visit the jail and, if the law student is State Bar certified, argue motions in court.