The Legal Advocate

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June 2013 Executive Director’s Letter: Summer at NITA

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We love our summer season, filled with more of our signature Public Programs than any other season. I just returned from visiting the Western Regional Trial Program in San Francisco – 56 fine lawyers working with a stellar faculty in ways that inspire confidence, participation, risks, and rewards. They try their NITA cases this weekend, and I wish I were there to see them!

It is a good time to think about how you can reach the promising young lawyers you know, and tell them about NITA.  They probably heard of us in law school from a NITA case file or treatise, or perhaps moot court. But until they entered practice, they could not imagine the difference our programs make in every lawyer’s comfort and effectiveness at trial or in deposition. Now they need to know about us!

As you think about who can improve her or his career through NITA work, here are some things you might consider:

  • Who are the up-and-coming lawyers in your sphere that are ready for this singular Public Program experience?
  • Who around you would find the successes of the Public Program to be the spark to reignite their ambition?
  • Who among your firm-trained lawyers is ready for super-achievement gained by striking out beyond the firm’s program?  To experiment without risk in front of non-firm faculty, and beyond the sanctity of relationships with firm colleagues?
  • Who in your city would embrace the chance to “up the game” – someone on a past trial team, an adversary with raw talent to tame, a bar association member, a friend?

As Executive Director, I can confirm what I had thought to be true:  the in-house programs, whether NITA’s Custom programs for firms, or the firm’s own program, work well in tandem with a larger NITA training strategy.  Before coming to this position, I had helped my global firm design one of the first in-house academies.  I knew that the incisive NITA training across the appropriate associate class was magical for the firm.  I knew, at the same time, that the firm’s upcoming stars (those who would be taking trial witnesses, and would likely lead future trial teams) extended their learning and solidified their strength by going from their firm academy to a NITA a Public Program.

Why?  Risk. The Public Program allows – actually encourages – high risk learning. The lawyer tries something one would never experiment with on a client matter – or before the firm’s partner/teachers in an academy. Try it once.  Get a critique. Then try it differently. The lawyer can take wild risks trying his style, following her instincts, attempting a risky cross, closing with a novel approach.  Trying and receiving critiques is the core of the NITA Public Programs. Moreover, in the Public Program, colleagues taking the course are strangers at the beginning but teammates by the end.

Calculated risk, trained instincts, mastery of examination processes, repeated practice runs with critiques, and teaming to crack the theme of the case. The Public Program confers a special maturity. It fits both the lawyer groomed in firm academies, and the lawyer who learned through actual practice.  Our faculty individualizes their teaching. They pack more learning into a few days than can be imagined, and our participants take unimaginable risks, achieving big rewards.

Think ahead to help your colleagues plan.  Whether summer or early fall, get the word out that the programs are filling. Summer – 14 programs around the country from June 24 through September. www.nita.org/Shop#programs

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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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