The Legal Advocate

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September 2013 Executive Director’s Letter: NITA – Nationwide and Ambassadorial Too

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Karen M. Lockwood

Karen M. Lockwood

NITA has entered the fall with great excitement over new opportunities. We are seeing new international connections in keeping with this month’s theme, as well as exciting new program projects, and renewed vigor across the country in capturing the full power of NITA’s landmark trial teaching techniques for more “students” of advocacy. Our publications and our programs are strong and their impact is ever growing.

We paused to bid farewell to our Terre Rushton, longtime NITA fan, superb NITA teacher, and just-retired Associate Executive Director of Programs. The many bases Terre covered are now covered on several levels, with Wendy Velez leading operations on both the programs and publications sides. Our programs operations are in the hands of Assistant Directors of Programs Megan Melich (public) and Michelle Rogness (custom) and the program specialists across the staff. Our legal and educational content creation, customization, and initiative are led by Mark Caldwell and me, with special acknowledgement of our incoming Director of Publications, attorney Jennifer Schneider. Of course, our star-quality group of Program Directors across the NITA network do the inspired pedagogical work with each year’s curriculum of each program – public and custom alike. We work closely with them, and look forward to new NITA faculty initiatives that I am currently assembling among that group. Please reach out to me, Wendy, and our programs and publications staff in your work with NITA!

The international scene opened NITA’s September with the NITA/Law Society of Northern Ireland program titled Advanced Advocacy for Solicitors. Four NITA teachers from the U.S. and a larger very talented faculty in Northern Ireland were led by “our own” Fiona Donnelly (confessing here that Fiona actually belongs to Northern Ireland in every marvelous way!). Joining the Irish solicitors – private, public defense, and prosecutorial – were participants from Scotland and faculty from Australia via England. After five days, mastery of two full case files, and robust trials before Irish judges in Belfast’s beautiful Queen’s Bench courtrooms, the solicitors and faculty celebrated with a robust and witty closing ceremony. The magic of this program has now reached a third of the solicitors barred in Northern Ireland, where the bar is working closely on rules that would permit Solicitors advocacy rights in certain courts that protect critical rights and concerns of everyday citizens. We salute and thank the Law Society, and admire Northern Ireland for its many programs of dispute resolution, peacekeeping, and advocacy training. Quickly following that program is the four-day Scotland program with the Society of Barristers, which ended just last week.

Our bloggers’ posts on the advocate’s respect for international differences in judicial proceedings are more than an academic subject for NITA. NITA is in many countries where the culture and governance model are inherited from very different roots than the English common law system. For years, NITA has extended ambassadorial hands to lawyers in other countries who work to vindicate justice and strengthen the rule of law. Here is a list of where NITA has been found since January 2012:

1/12 Macedonia Teacher Training
4/12 Ghana – donation of textbooks
7/12 Micronesia Legal Services
8/12 Kenya Advocacy Training Program
9/12 Belfast Advanced Advocacy for Solicitors
10/12 Kosrae Attorney General Office Trial Skills
11/12 Japan (as an honored visitor in exchanges on cutting-edge thinking on advocacy for justice)
11/12 Dublin Advanced Advocacy NITA Teacher Training Programme
3/13 Belfast Public Prosecution Service
3/13 Albania Basic Trial Skills
6/13 Japan
8/13 Kenya Advocacy Training Program
9/13 Belfast Advanced Advocacy for Solicitors
9/13 Scotland Solicitors & Solicitor Advocates

We seek to continue this work, and have numerous opportunities to join with law societies or bar associations in other nations as we look forward. With resources, whether donated or co-sponsored, NITA can serve its mission elsewhere than our home nation, and our bloggers illustrate some of the talents that we pull together to do so.

Looking forward to an exciting fall with you,


Karen M. Lockwood, Esq.
President & Executive Director
National Institute for Trial Advocacy

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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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