Friday, May 30, 2008

NITA Earns Top Awards from ACLEA

The Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) honored NITA with the Award for Professional Excellence for its book, Winning at Trial by D. Shane Read and the Award for Outstanding Achievement for its 2008 Brand Campaign Design: The Journey. ACLEA grants only 15 annual awards to competitors representing more than 300 organizations.

The Award for Professional Excellence is the top prize; only one is awarded in each category of prizes. ACLEA will formally present the awards to NITA at the Annual Meeting of ACLEA in Vancouver, British Columbia on August 5, 2008.

Winning at Trial, the winning text, encapsulates every litigator’s fundamental aspiration. The book includes two DVDs containing almost four hours of footage from the O. J. Simpson trial and a focus group deliberating a civil trial (440 pp., two DVDs, 2007, ISBN 978-1-60156-001-8, $75.00).

The “Journey” brand campaign has been a centerpiece of NITA’s marketing and communications pieces in 2008. E-mails, brochures, catalogs, and other pieces of collateral have included this theme in both imagery and copy. Given that participation across NITA’s public and public service programs is up year to year over 2007, the 2008 Journey campaign is a likely contributing factor.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How to Try a Jury Case

How to Try a Jury Case: Trial Tactics, by John F. Kimberling, recently published by NITA, has been well-received by the legal community. The following reviews underscore that the practical advice it offers deems it an important addition to any trial lawyer’s bookshelf.

“…a must-read for all trial lawyers, whether the lawyer is new to the practice or simply want to brush up on some trial techniques…replete with tips that only a seasoned trial advocate can provide.”
--Trial, May 2008

“Kimberlings’s trial manual permits a new trial attorney to gain practical knowledge and insight that can be obtained only from years of success and mistakes as a trial attorney…a highly recommended read.”
The Colorado Lawyer, April 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination

In the summer of 1975 NITA’s faculty member, Irving Younger, lectured to 182 program participants of NITA’s National Session. The result of this lecture is the video of Younger’s well-known speech, The Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination. That year, like all years at the National Session, the lecture is given on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, Colorado.

The Ten Commandments of Cross-Examination:

1. Be brief
2. Use plain words
3. Ask only leading questions
4. Be prepared
5. Listen
6. Don't get into a quarrel
7. Avoid repetition
8. Disallow witness explanations
9. Limit questioning
10. Save the main point for the summation

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The NITA Method in Action

by Steve Gibson

As NITA's Chief Operating Officer, it's my continuing privilege to visit NITA programs across the country and see the NITA method in action. After conversations with dozens of our faculty, I couldn't help but observe an interesting, and consistent, paradox: While the NITA method, with its focus on the student rather than the teacher, is explicitly not about the faculty member, the faculty also benefit greatly from the interaction.

What it comes down to, from my view, is the answers to two related questions. When asked what they like best about teaching, most faculty (and all of our best faculty) suggest that it has to do with the satisfaction of seeing the attorneys they work with improve and expand their skills - sometimes over the course of years, as NITA relationships so often carry-over beyond the time of the program itself. At the same time, when asked why they teach, most faculty (and, again, virtually all of our best), recognize that it is because through teaching they become better lawyers themselves, learning from the critiques they provide, the insights of other faculty and, not surprisingly, from the students, who often are skilled attorneys in their own right.

Not to put too philosophical an edge on things, but perhaps it is this duality of student focused process leading to improvement for both the faculty and the student that engenders the loyalty to NITA and connection to their chosen profession I see in so many of our dedicated volunteer faculty. The contrast to a typical lecture-and-listen program, where the attendees may learn but the lecturer receives little more than ego gratification (and, often, a paycheck), could not be clearer.

Seen in this light, the connections between the values at NITA's core—things like improving justice, a sense of community and personal connection, and giving back—and the very nature of what NITA is becomes clear. Given the sacrifices in family and professional time that our faculty make to teach, NITA really must be something more than just another CLE program. And I'm pleased to say that, from what I've seen, it certainly is.