The Legal Advocate

A blog brought to you by the national institute for trial advocacy

Monthly Archives: November 2014

NITA Celebrates Pro Bono Recognition Week

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NITA is committed to providing all lawyers with access to legal skills training. To help us reach that goal we devote resources to programs designed to improve the skills of those who represent underserved communities.  During National Pro Bono Week on October 19-25 we reflected on this mission.

Our public service statics, taken from last week’s NITA Notes written by NITA Board Member, Barbara Bergman, are thrilling to report.  In 2014, over 500 participants have been trained in NITA’s more specialized public service programs.  Those programs included training in child advocacy, disability rights work, legal services, domestic violence, death penalty, civil rights, and programs in conjunction with bar associations.  NITA has also sponsored teacher training programs for legal service and child advocacy attorneys, which were designed to enable those attorneys to return to their offices and train the attorneys with whom they worked to be more effective advocates.  NITA is also participating in advocacy training programs in Serbia, Singapore, Ireland, Kenya, and Japan.  Overall, 150 individuals attended nine international programs.

To read the entire blog post about Pro Bono Recognition Week and NITA’s public service efforts, visit:

Grant and Donor Highlights and Appreciation

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Kansas Bar Foundation Continues Support
The NITA Foundation expresses its thanks for the fourth year in a row to the Kansas Bar Foundation, Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts Program (IOLTA) for funding a NITA public service program to train Kansas lawyers in the public service sector.   The three-day program, entitled Public Service Advocacy Skills, was held just last week in Kansas focusing on the needs of specialized public service attorneys and was tuition-free.

Not only will these attorneys benefit from being trained in a quality educational training by NITA faculty members without the burden of traveling, but their clients will in turn receive representation from enriched advocates because of this specialized funding.

The NITA Foundation shares the same funding crisis as many non-profits based on the last few years of a struggling economy, reduced donor dollars, and limited training funds.  This means we have limited resources to do public service programs without covering costs.  Grants like this create a unique and powerful opportunity offered to local, dedicated attorneys.

To learn more about The Kansas Bar Foundation – IOLTA programs, visit

International Society of Barristers Partnership Endures
A $10,000 donation from the International Society of Barristers (ISOB) continues the valuable partnership between the NITA Foundation and this distinct and prestigious organization.  ISOB dedicated to assist NITA in making trial programs accessible to public service attorneys in need.  We have dedicated these funds to sponsor 7 scholarships thus far in 2014 trial programs.  These scholarships are known as the International Society of Barristers Craig Spangenberg/John Liber Scholarships.

The Society nurtures excellence and professionalism in advocacy by its recognition of members’ achievements.  Their recognition of the quality of NITA trial programs combined with their support to the NITA Foundation allows a combined mission of enhancing advocacy skills and improving the justice system.

To learn more about ISOB, visit

International Academy of Trial Lawyers Recognition
The NITA Foundation recognizes the generosity of a longtime supporter, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers Foundation (IATL). The organization donated $10,000 to the NITA Foundation to boost our scholarship program for 2014.

The Academy is a group of elite trial lawyers who purpose includes elevating the standards of honor, integrity, and courtesy in the legal profession.  Their outstanding commitment to NITA enables us to fulfill their purpose by training public service lawyers through scholarships to NITA public programs to become effective, ethical, and professional advocates.

For more information about the IATL Foundation, visit

Mongolian Project Assistance

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NITA was pleased to assist IATL and the California Bar on an impactful project in Mongolia.  The California Bar recently assisted in the creation of a newly formed Mongolian Bar Association.  The International Academy of Trial Lawyers was invited to help explore possible benefits of a jury trial process for Mongolia’s developing legal system from the ground up.  NITA provided a NITA case file (with permission to translate) to support this project with an estimated 100 people involved.

Scholarship Impact

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Enthusiastically, we report just over 100 scholarships have been awarded and accepted thus far in 2014. Totaling over $100,000, these scholarships enable attendance to various NITA public programs throughout the country.  Donations for scholarships have helped touch the lives of many, including a single mother of two in grave financial circumstances working in public service without confidence in her trial skills.  Her clients will now be better served because of the NITA trials skills training she received.

On the other hand, NITA has denied nearly 90 scholarship applications due to our limited resources.  The need for more and better advocacy training is out there and we are here to fill the void.  We are very proud of the scholarship awarding efforts, but the goal is to broaden our reach in 2015 with the help from our donor community.

Board Giving and Gratitude

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The combined support and collective knowledge of our Board members at NITA are second to none.  The NITA Foundation wants to share our gratitude for everything the Board does to make a positive difference in our organization and for their generous donations.  Their commitment to public service and the mission of NITA and the NITA Foundation is continually shining through.  For the third year in a row, the Board of Trustees has once again attained 100% Board giving for 2013.  This assurance gains us eligibility for certain grants that can allow us access to public service attorneys greatly in need of our training’s.

Thank you once again to all Board members and Emeritus Trustees that made this a reality.

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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