Monday, June 30, 2008

My Time in Nita City

Are you a NITA program participant with an experience to share? Comment here or contact us to to tell us about it—just like NITA program attendee, Jennifer R. Hersh, staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC, Hamilton, OH.

"Two days after my return from Rocky Mountain Child Advocacy Training Institute (RMCATI), I had a battle royale in shelter care in which I had to contest a motion against three other attorneys, and I won. I could see the difference in my own performance after attending RMCATI. I had more clarity in preparation. I was calmer in court because I was more confident. I didn't get flustered when witnesses didn't answer as I expected. I used the direct and cross-examination skills I learned at RMCATI and I gave the closing argument of my life. The true benefit, though, is that a medically fragile infant is in a safe placement today because I went to RMCATI last week."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

CLE in the Summertime

Many attorneys choose to mix their CLE obligation with a little rest and relaxation. Although firms don’t always encourage destination trainings, there is no denying the appeal.

CLE providers across the country are aware of the draw a short summer program has and have tailored their schedules to provide participants with ample opportunity to learn and have a little fun at the same time. For instance, CLE International has four programs in Florida this year alone.

And then of course there is NITA who covers every area of legal advocacy skills training and provides programs in great vacation spots such as Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Boston, and Boulder. Although NITA programs are typically longer than most, we always encourage participants to enjoy the ocean and mountains (or maybe both) that are nearby.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

NITA Program Directors Leading Many Law Schools

NITA has always worked hand-in-hand with law schools to develop programs and a curriculum that emphasize the importance of trial advocacy training for their students, and this is still evident with the presence of NITA’s program directors and faculty in law school leadership positions. NITA and these distinguished deans are constantly working together to craft the best possible environment to better prepare students for the courtroom by using the skills of trial advocacy.

This all comes at an opportune time after the Carnegie Report (see previous post on Carnegie) has left a lasting impression on most law school leaders. Hopefully with NITA’s presence at these schools and others, the vision expressed in the Carnegie Report will be reached with more ease.

For more information on these NITA faculty and program directors listed here, visit their law school Web sites:

Barbara Bergman – Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, University of New Mexico School of Law
Douglas Blaze – Dean of the University of Tennessee College of Law
JoAnne Epps – Dean of the Law School, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
John Douglass – Dean of the Law School, University of Richmond TC Williams School of Law
Leo Romero – Interim Dean, University of New Mexico School of Law

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Milestone: June 11 Marks NITA’s 37th Birthday

The articles of incorporation for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy were officially signed on June 11, 1971 by Thomas S. Jackson, Frank R. Roberson, and Edward F. Howrey. Happy Birthday NITA.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rule of Law: NITA Taking It Up a Notch

by Jennifer Long

As a staff member in the Development office for the NITA Foundation, I work with those who focus on NITA’s public service efforts, making possible scholarships for public service attorneys who couldn’t afford tuition, and applying for grant funding for free and reduced tuition programs which fill a need in the legal community. One of our recent milestones was creating a partnership with the grassroots rule of law organization Lawyers Without Borders to aid our efforts to expand our training internationally, and to help emerging democracies build stronger legal systems from the ground up.

Rule of Law means that no one is above the law, and ensures that the personalities and emotions of those immersed in the courtroom don’t get in the way of the facts. NITA programs take it up a notch, teaching the art of advocacy, which is integrating those personalities and the emotional intelligence with the facts, and presenting them through the voice of the client. Trying to heal the pain from genocide while building a democracy in a country that was subjected to the capriciousness of dictatorship, for example, requires fashioning the story with the utmost care towards the victims and the intricacies of their stories.

When NITA faculty travel abroad – to South Africa, to Eastern Europe, to Asia – they take with them an intuitive sensitivity to the places they visit, and the host communities haven’t seen much of that. They work with lawyers whose clients are victims of human trafficking, egregious domestic violence, and survivors of apartheid, training them on how to tell these stories to those with the power to affect the clients’ fate. This can only be accomplished with an ethical approach, a goal that justice be served, and a desire to give their clients a foundation to rebuild their lives.

To learn more about the NITA Foundation or to help contribute toward Rule of Law initiatives by donating to our Public Service Programs, please visit us at