The Legal Advocate

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Monthly Archives: November 2012

NITA Faculty Member Appointed Judge in Illinois

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Thomas Lynch, NITA faculty member and business litigator at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, has been appointed to a 14-year term as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division. Lynch will be replacing Judge Manuel Barbosa, who is retiring after completing his 14-year term.

Lynch regularly teaches for NITA at the Midwest Regional Building Trial Skills program in Chicago (at Loyola University Law School).  He has also been on the faculty of the Midwest Deposition Skills program in Chicago.  In addition to his NITA teaching Lynch is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Please join us in congratulating Thomas Lynch on this recent appointment.

Give Where You Live – Colorado Gives Day 2012

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The NITA Foundation is proud to be one of the local charities in Colorado that can benefit from donor support on Colorado Gives Day, scheduled for Tuesday December 4, 2012! To make a donation online on Colorado Gives Day specifically to support the NITA Foundation, please log onto:

Community First Foundation, an Arvada-based foundation dedicated to increasing community generosity and involvement, and FirstBank, Colorado’s largest locally owned bank, will host Colorado Gives Day 2012,. The initiative is to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. In addition to fundraising, Colorado Gives Day raises awareness of the state’s nonprofit sector and educates communities about the benefits of online giving.

The third annual Colorado Gives Day will take place during a 24-hour period on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Community First Foundation and FirstBank partnered for the last two years, distributing $8.7 million to Colorado nonprofits in 2010 and $12.8 million in 2011.

“The 2010/2011 comparisons, which can be found in the Colorado Gives Day 2011 Report, are fascinating. For example, the number of online donations increased by 160 percent, with a 73 percent increase in the number of participating nonprofits and a 116 percent increase in the number of donors,” said Marla J. Williams, President and CEO of Community First Foundation. “In 2011, 93 percent of nonprofits acquired new donors and we were pleased to see so many nonprofits collaborate in their marketing and fundraising efforts to make an even greater local impact on Colorado Gives Day 2011. We look forward to seeing what 2012 will bring.”

FirstBank has renewed its role as corporate partner of Colorado Gives Day and has committed $600,000 to the 2012 campaign. FirstBank committed $500,000 to Colorado Gives Day 2011 and $300,000 in 2010.

“In only two years, Colorado Gives Day has become a philanthropic institution in our state, bringing together local residents to support the nonprofit organizations that make Colorado such a vibrant place to live and work,” said John Ikard, President and CEO of FirstBank Holding Company. “In addition to our financial support, FirstBank invests time and energy into promoting Colorado Gives Day to local nonprofits and the broader Colorado community. We’re honored to play a role in bringing Colorado Gives Day 2012 to life.” Once again, credit card and processing fees will be covered by Community First Foundation, FirstBank, and sponsors so that 100 percent of Colorado Gives Day donations go directly to nonprofit organizations.

“Participating in Colorado Gives Day has proven to be a successful fundraising opportunity for CASA Jeffco/Gilpin,” said Leah Varnell, Executive Director. “Our program recruits, trains, and supports community volunteers who advocate in court for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA Jeffco/Gilpin has only enough resources to provide volunteers for 30 percent of open cases of abuse and neglect in Jefferson and Gilpin counties. Participating in Colorado Gives Day has increased donations to our program by a substantial amount. That, in turn, provides us the opportunity to advocate for additional child abuse victims. In addition, the publicity that Colorado Gives Day generates assists in introducing our program to a larger community and allows us to highlight the continual need for additional CASA volunteers.”

About Community First Foundation
Community First Foundation helps donors and nonprofits come together to improve quality of life in the Denver metro area. We use our resources to fund community programs, support the services of nonprofit organizations, and assist individuals with charitable giving. By monitoring the pulse of the community, we create new and innovative programs such as GivingFirst,org, an online giving resource, and Colorado Gives Day, an initiative that inspired Coloradans to donate $12.4 million in 2011 and $8.4 million in 2010. We’ve been serving the community since 1975.

About FirstBank
FirstBank operates more than 125 locations in Colorado, Arizona and California. FirstBank is the largest locally owned banking organization in Colorado, serving more than 600,000 customers. Since its inception in 1963, FirstBank has contributed more than $45 million and thousands of volunteer hours to charitable organizations. The bank was recognized as a 2010 “Partner in Philanthropy” by the Denver Business Journal because of its philanthropic activities. FirstBank is unique in that a majority of its stock is owned by management and employees. For more information, go to

Sandy, E-discovery Hot Topics at Litigation Summit

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Presented by ALM, publisher of the American Lawyer and the  National Law Journal (among others), the 2012 Litigation Summit and Exposition brings together thought leaders in litigation and litigation technology.  The program this year featured five different tracks and was book-ended by industry relevant keynote speakers.  However, there were two words that were heard more than any other during the two-day event, as they came up in seemingly every session and conversation: Sandy and e-discovery.

Even through the conference took place in Washington, D.C., the effects of Hurricane Sandy were easily noticeable.  A number of registered attendees were unable to make the trip due to the storm.  Relying heavily on attendance from the east coast, many attendee badges unfortunately went unclaimed.  Here’s hoping all those affected by the storm, conference attendees and otherwise, return to a sense of normalcy safely and soon.

Everyone who did make it to the conference could choose to attend a number of different sessions, all dealing with recent legal and regulatory developments in various substantive areas.  From the keynote session on economics of litigation to the closing session on unethical and rogue employee activities, and in nearly every breakout session in between, the clear hot button issue for the audience was e-discovery.  It wasn’t always in the session title or even in the description but it inevitably came up.  Even conversations outside the session–during meals  and in the exhibit hall–often focused on e-discovery.  That wasn’t a big surprise though, given that a good number of conference sponsors were were in the e-discovery arena.

It remains to be seen if e-discovery will be as hot of a topic when this event takes place in 2013. It’s too bad that so many people missed the opportunity to learn about and discuss this important topic due to something completely out of their control.  Whatever the hot topics happen to be next year, conferences like this will develop programming that addresses them in as much detail as it did for e-discovery this year. Let’s just hope Mother Nature is more cooperative in 2013.

The Voice by James Brosnahan

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James Brosnahn discusses the importance of the voice and how it pertains to all aspects of legal advocacy.

John Baker

November 2012 Executive Director’s Letter: “Hello” and “Good-Bye”

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John BakerThe “hello” goes out to Karen Lockwood, who will  lead us as NITA’s 8th Executive Director on December 1, 2012.  I have known Karen as one of NITA’s fine public program directors for several years.  I have always viewed her as a talented NITA faculty member, who has had NITA loyalty flowing through her veins. Over the last few months Karen and I have worked shoulder to shoulder in this transition period and I have gotten to know her better.   I am confident that she will apply her considerable talents as a NITA teacher and as a long time trial lawyer to her new job as the future leader of NITA.  Please welcome Karen.

The “good-bye” part comes from me.  I feel honored to have served as NITA’s director for the last three years.  I view my term as being marked by both “a looking back” and “a looking forward.”  I was lucky to participate in last year’s 40th Reunion Celebration, which gave us all an opportunity to learn about our NITA history.  More importantly, the 40th anniversary allowed us to reconnect with our NITA “roots” that were characterized by NITA revolutionizing advocacy skills teaching in 1972.  As we all join with Karen to take NITA forward in this technology-driven 21st century we need to remember our history and be true to our roots of quality and excellence of our programs.

The “looking forward” part has been NITA’s recent exploration of whether and how we can apply the NITA method of learning by doing to online distance learning and other electronic formats. Over the last three years we found that applying the NITA method in these other formats will not replace our traditional face-to-face programs for most NITA participants.  However, the other formats can be used to supplement the traditional programs, to market our programs,  and to reach attorneys who will not ever be able to attend the face-to-face programs.   NITA publications branched out to e-books in a similar way.

This last three years was a NITA team effort. I need to thank all of the NITA team that I was fortunate to work side-by-side with for three years. First, the talented NITA Boulder staff members have gracefully transitioned through economic challenges, through changes in the NITA leadership, and even through change in location without whining and always with allegiance and loyalty to NITA and its mission. Second, the NITA faculty members and program directors have uniformly and unwaveringly supported the NITA mission through their volunteer teaching and their directing of our public and our public service programs. Finally, the volunteer members of the NITA Board of Trustees and NITA Foundation Board shared their talent, their time, and their treasure to insure that NITA weathered all of the rough seas of the last few years.  I have been honored to work shoulder to shoulder with all of you during this three year “adventure.”

I look forward to continuing to teach for NITA and help Karen in any way that I can.




John T. Baker

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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