The Legal Advocate

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In Memory of MJ Tocci

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Tocci_MJNITA would like to take a moment to honor the memory of a very talented and special member of the legal community, MJ Tocci. MJ died at age 60 on Saturday, February 15, at Canterbury Place in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, after an extended illness.

MJ was a talented member of the NITA faculty, teaching many programs well into 2005. A former trial lawyer turned legal consultant, she made it her life’s mission to work with women who were working to achieve success. She went to law school at the University of San Francisco and into a job as a prosecutor for the Alameda County district attorney in Oakland, Calif. There, MJ discovered her skill for recognizing the cases that needed to be dropped and her talent for going after truly bad guys. Over the next fifteen years, she did just that, prosecuting many cases, starting with smaller scale crimes and ultimately heading the major fraud unit. She was named “one of California’s most effective prosecutors” by California Lawyer magazine.

She moved to Pittsburgh in 1996, where she became a consultant, founding Fulcrum Advisors, which taught women lawyers how to try cases, and worked with law firms and corporations to recruit, retrain, and promote talented women. Her focus on women also lead her to team up with Linda Babcock, a Carnegie-Mellon economist, to start and direct the Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women, a five-month program for executive women. It was a professional accomplishment of which MJ was incredibly proud. In 2011, she was given the Athena Award by the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce. An engaging, focused and inspiring woman, MJ Tocci will be missed.

A memorial service in MJ’s honor will be held on April 5.

You can read more about MJ’s work here.

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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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