Hands-on DNA for Lawyers

In over 23 hours of hands on training, twenty attorneys assembled at Boise State University to learn DNA analysis. Dr. Greg Hampikian, Laura Wendell and Mike Davis teach the class Lawyer instructors include: Justin J. McShane, JD, F-AIC and Josh D Lee, JD.

The premise of this class was that lawyers cannot effectively understand and then teach juries DNA unless they actually do the analysis from beginning to end. And that is what the graduates of this course do. The goal is to learn more about DNA (from collection to reporting of statistics) than an analyst that testifies in court.

 

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In this course, the students are hands-on from sample collection, serology, sample prep, extracting DNA, pipetting, using the spin basket technique, vortexing, micro centrifuging, adding reagents from different kits, quanting, PCRing, the correct use and maintenance of the capillary electrophoresis machine, using Genemapper, using a ThermoCycler, understanding PopStats, and much much more is covered.

The students learn about contamination, interpretation of the electropherograms, artifacts, drop-in, stutter, pull-up, validation, mixture interpretation, use of statistics, calculation of statistics, mtDNA, touch DNA, SNP, LCN, Y-STR, traditional and historic nuclear DNA testing techniques, and much, much more.

The students goover data from important DNA cases such as OJ Simpson and Amanda Knox. The students hear from Charles Fain who spent 17.5 years on death row before his DNA exoneration.

The lawyers learn about how to develop and deliver themes of the case so that the science can be communicated well to juries. Proper cross examination techniques are demonstrated and taught.

All agree that this course is worth it and is a total game changer.

These pictured lawyers are truly part of the emerging trend of justice: the lawyer-scientist. They are leaders!