The Legal Advocate

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Micronesia Advocacy Journey – Update from Michael and JoAnne Roake

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Michael and JoAnne Roake, long-time NITA faculty members and program instructors, have written a blog post on their recent experiences teaching advocacy in Micronesia. They are on a 42-day mission to provide training in seven different locations (Majuro, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Saipan, Yap, and Palau) staffed by The Micronesian Legal Services Corporation.

“Well, we just completed the training in Pohnpei, and feel quite proud. The MLSC attorneys and the AGs did a great job, incorporating everything we taught and expressing to us how much they appreciated the training. Most of your lawyers were over the moon with the training and hoped they could build on it. This, despite the fact we worked them to the bone, as you know. They are real troopers.

I also mention that your visit was a great incentive to take the training and you are very well regarded. On Kosrae, we had a few meals with Fred something, the former AG of the Federation and currently defending a murder case in Kosrae. Needless to say, we bonded, given both our dark backgrounds and sick fascination with crime. He is quite accomplished, having been over here for years, having had three wives, and having represented the Federation in the Law of the Sea negotiations. But best of all, he, like others, have a very high regard for you. It is nice to hear this and better to pass it on.

The additional folks at the training here in Pohnpei ((65 MLSC attorneys, 4 AGs a,d 3 private attorneys) , while a bit adrift (many were new lawyers), also learned quite a bit.

I will mention that every day, there were more observers in the back. Judges, judicial clerks, probation officers, etc., Things must be slow here or they really were pretty excited.

The next to best piece was the large Sakau ceremony they threw us after the program. That is truly a regal drink, especially when accompanied by ceremony and a feast. Food was abundant and they made Sakau for us right in front of us and honored us with a party. I really am quite unaccustomed to this sort of hospitality! The Chief Justice also attended and thanked us publicly…apparently he had also seen some of the training. The coconut express is really quite formidable.

But the best was to pull up to The Village. It is fantastic and we are in your debt forever. We introduced ourselves to our hosts, were discreet, and felt their warmth and deep affection for you. Thanks, Ben.

Tomorrow we are off to Nan Madol on a boat with some skin diving thrown in. What a treat.

My best to you and my eternal gratitude.”

Michael Roake combines the skills of an accomplished practitioner with pertinent teaching experience. He has taught and acted as Program Director for over 135 NITA programs in a mix of Custom, Public Service and Public Programs. 

JoAnne Roake has been a valued faculty member with NITA for many years. She teaches with NITA at its National Program, in various regional programs, domestic violence programs, Tribal Court Programs and private firm programs. She was most recently named the Deputy Director of the Bar Association’s Rule of Law Program in Jordan. 

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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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