Monday, March 24, 2008

Mexico’s Changing Criminal Justice System

As reported in the February 2007 issue of NITA Notes, NITA has entered into a partnership with Southwestern Law School, Tecnol√≥gico de Monterrey, Texas Tech University School of Law, and the ABA Section on International Law under a United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) grant to provide advocacy training to Mexican attorneys. This work was prompted by Mexico’s changing criminal justice system from a written inquisitorial to an oral adversarial system.

In January of this year, NITA’s work in Mexico was expanded by entering into an agreement with the Programa de Apoyo al Estado de Derecho (PRODOCHERO) and the USAID’s Rule of Law Project in Mexico. This agreement extends NITA’s reach even further into Mexico by inviting Mexican attorneys to attend various programs held in the U.S., by coordinating teacher training programs and other trial advocacy programs in Mexico, as well as providing translated NITA materials. These efforts are intended to assist both state and federal governments, along with law schools and practicing attorneys.

This partnership, much like the agreement with the Japanese PSIM Consortium, is an opportunity for NITA faculty to bring the NITA method abroad. If you are a fluent speaker in Spanish or Japanese, and are interested in teaching abroad, please send an e-mail to

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Azerbaijan Attorney Given NITA Scholarship

Extortion, corruption, assault, fighting for the benefits due a World War II veteran who had been on the waiting list for nearly forty years… this is a sampling of the work in cases brought to the lawyers at the Legal Advocacy Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. The NITA Foundation is pleased to award a scholarship to attend the March Teacher Training Program in Boston to Mehriban Ovchuyeva, an attorney working for the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Working in the Legal Advocacy Center in Baku, which is the capital city of Azerbaijan, Mehriban provides pro-bono legal services for citizens on such issues as human rights, education, family law, and employment law. After completing this program, she will have the necessary skills to train other attorneys in her home country.

In addition to tuition assistance from the Foundation, Michael Kelly, a NITA Trustee and Program Director, also generously contributed mileage awards for roundtrip airfare for Mehriban. In a country where the average annual income is less than $4,000 a year, the cost of a plane ticket is beyond the reach of most Azerbaijani citizens. A special thank you to Mike for making this journey possible for this scholarship recipient. Since our inception in 2003, the NITA Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships to worthy applicants seeking to attend one of NITA’s many programs, and our faculty is our most dependable donor base.

The NITA Foundation as a nonprofit, charitable organization is playing an increasingly more important and visible role in the area of promoting justice and human rights in various countries, including Azerbaijan, South Africa, Mexico, China, Liberia, Nigeria, and Kenya. Unfortunately, we have limited funding to support the important work of advocates such as Mehriban, who are advancing change in their home countries. Our scholarship program depends on the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations desiring to make an impact in this area. Therefore, we need your support in order to ensure that NITA’s mission is fulfilled.

To get involved in the Foundation, please contact us at or 303.953.6853. You can make a contribution by visiting us online at Please consider pledging mileage awards to our scholarship program to assist with the travel costs of young attorneys from faraway countries. Without these generous gifts, tuition may be covered, but the lawyers would have to forego the scholarship without the ability to pay for the flight to get to the program.

When you make a gift to the Foundation’s scholarship program, your act of charity is magnified by the work of each recipient, and, in this case, an attorney working to advance human rights and the rule of law. Consider how your gift to the Foundation’s scholarship program has a multiplier effect especially in our international programs.

As always thank you for your support.

NITA in the YouTube Dimension

A simple search on YouTube for “trial advocacy” will bring up many different relevant videos including one of NITA’s very own productions. Surf on over today to learn more about the NITA Foundation and all that it does for advocates and the community. And while you’re there, do a search for Jim Carrigan to see the Hon. Jim R. Carrigan talk about NITA beginnings.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Law Firm Leadership Training

In a recent issue of The National Law Journal, the effectiveness of law firm leadership training was analyzed from all perspectives in its story “Are Law Firm Leadership Programs Worth the Money?” NITA is confident in its own mentoring program, Developing Supervisory Skills, and is happy to see big firms finding a value in this type of training too.

NITA author, Paul Zwier (writer of Supervisory and Leadership Skills in the Modern Law Practice) was interviewed in the NLJ story stating: “in some cases leadership training can serve as an ‘opium of the masses.’”
What do you think? Read the story in its entirety and leave us your comments.

Reprinted with permission from the March 4th edition of The National Law Journal. © 2007 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For copyright clearance visit: