The Legal Advocate

A blog brought to you by the national institute for trial advocacy

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Book Report: Inside Jurors’ Minds

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This is part of a new Book Report series designed to introduce some of our favorite NITA publications. Some of the books we’ll write about are fresh off the press, while others are tried-and-true NITA favorites. For more book reports and information on our publications, check out our Publications page

Inside Jurors’ Minds:

The Hierarchy of Juror Decision-Making

Carol B. Anderson

Jurors rely on the same learned thinking tools in the courtroom that they use when making decisions in their everyday lives. By understanding these tools and the factors that influence them, you can more successfully present your case to a jury in court. Inside Jurors’ Minds by Carol B. Anderson discusses the thinking tools jurors’ rely on when making decisions, and explains how you can use this information to win over the jury.

Human traits such as fight-or-flight and self-preservation make it difficult for jurors to separate instinct from emotion, while personal beliefs and values affect jurors’ perceptions. These factors influence jurors’ opinions, both consciously and unconsciously. In Inside Jurors’ Minds, Anderson takes you step-by-step through this process of information interpretation and decision-making. By explaining the psychology behind these human traits from a juror’s perspective, the information is directly relevant to trial attorneys and easily applied in practice. The chapters are broken down into courtroom-specific psychological influences  including perception and information processing in the courtroom, memory, common juror biases, cultural norms and biases, and heuristics and other information-processing strategies. She concludes the book with a chapter on implementation, which provides sample opening and closing statements.

Anderson wrote, “It has been said that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. For trial lawyers, the thing not to be wasted is an understanding of how the mind works because we can use this information, along with our creativity, to benefit our clients” (157). This book will teach you how to understand jurors’s minds, influence their perceptions, and as a result, increase your success in the courtroom.

ISBN: 978-1-60156-181-7 ∙ 180 pages ∙ Retail Price: $45.00

Order Now: at

April 2012 Executive Director’s Letter

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John BakerSpring time here in Nita City is easily identified by an 85 degree day followed by snow only 24 hours later.  Another change you’ll notice here in the early spring is the format of this newsletter.  We redesigned NITA Notes to provide you with all the relevant and useful content you’ve become accustom to, but in a more user-friendly format.

Upon first glance it may seem like the newsletter is much shorter.  You now see a “snippet” of each article instead of the full article. If you’re interested in reading the entire article, it’s one click away.

“The Docket” will remain a part of the newsletter and will continue to outline a few months’ worth of our upcoming public programs.  There will still be a featured program and publication each month, and this new format puts them in a more prominent position.

It has been quite some time since we have changed the look of NITA Notes so I realize it may be quite a shock.  The goal is to bring you, the valued members of the NITA community, more information on what’s going on in and around NITA all the while presenting it in a more useful and aesthetically pleasing format.

The change will also bring with it new content.  Be on the lookout for new features in the coming months, including a “Where Are They Now?” section.

I welcome any comments you have about the new format or any ideas you have for future stories.  Enjoy the spring and the new NITA Notes.




John Baker

NITA Executive Director

PSIM Consortium Agreement Extended

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Members of Japan’s PSIM Consortium came to visit the NITA administration office on March 1, 2012 to tour the facility, sign an extended agreement with NITA (now effective through March 31, 2014), visit with communication experts and faculty Mary Ryan and Brian Leroy, and to sit down with focus groups. During the two focus group sessions, the members explored various themes and theories to see if they would work for Japanese lawyers.

For the last six years, NITA has worked in conjunction with the PSIM Consortium to provide Teacher Training programs at various Japanese law schools. Because the Japanese legal system has changed so dramatically in recent years, there is a great need for advocacy training.

The visiting PSIM Consortium members also demonstrated new technology that they are sharing with NITA that allows faculty to review and comment on online video performances in ways never before used by our programs.

Schepard Receives Diamond Award, Named Advisor to Honoring Families Initiative

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The Public Justice Foundation (PJF) at Hofstra Law has honored a faculty member every year since 2009 for their demonstrated commitment and dedication to public service through their work both in and out of school. NITA Program Director and Hofstra Law Professor Andrew I. Schepard is the fourth recipient of the David A. Diamond Distinguished Public Service Award.

The award is named in honor of the late professor David A. Diamond, who taught at Hofstra Law for more than 30 years in the areas of civil procedure, trial practice, family law, and public education. Learn more about the PJF.

On another note, Andy is now the advisor to the Honoring Families Initiative of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS). Honoring Families is focused on developing a model for an out-of-court alternative to in-court dissolution and child custody proceedings, as well as working to identify standards and recommendations for the in-court process. The Initiative will debut its strategic plan on the IAALS website in August.

Featured Publication—Effective Courtroom Advocacy

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Effective Courtroom AdvocacyWith the benefit of more than twenty-three years of trial observation and juror feedback, Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. distills his thoughts on how to master the fundamentals of trial advocacy, develop advanced skills, and win arguments before judges and juries.

Learn more about the book and buy your copy on the LexisNexis website.

NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system.

NITA’s Goals are to:

  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy.
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice.
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.
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