The Legal Advocate

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

Monthly Archives: June 2015

June 2015 Executive Director’s Letter: NITA Spreads Its Wings to Kansas City and Builds Out in Dallas

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Lockwood_KarenWe are proud to introduce in 2015 two brand new programs.

The Inaugural program, Depositions – Kansas City, is kicking off on August 13-15, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri.   Our new Program Directors there are Charles E. Atwell, J. (retired) and Hon. William Ossman.  Look for more information on this program here.

Then in November, you will find Persuasive Power in the Courtroom offered in Dallas. The Program Director is David Mann, and you can sign up now to attend on September 10-11, 2015. Look for more information on this program here.

You have been to a NITA advocacy skills program, right? If your answer is “yes,” you know the following truths:

  • NITA grooms your trial and deposition skills in its renowned “public programs.”
  • Nothing matches learning the NITA way.
  • “Being there” has no substitute. In person, you learn and practice advocacy skills that fit well on you – they become a part of you.
  • Any lawyer, at any age, in any type of practice, can select the city where NITA operates one of its regional public programs.

If your answer is “no,” then you must look forward to the experience of your career: development of your advocacy skills with NITA.

  • Public programs appeal to a wide range of lawyers, offer open registration to any lawyer, and thus have several hallmark advantages:
  • You will learn with lawyers you have never met before
  • You may be able to learn with lawyers who have been – or will be – your adversaries in the courtroom. Your professional collegiality will benefit.
  • You will study with faculty whom you do not know – and therefore will have complete freedom to stretch past your courage, to experiment in ways you would not on a client matter, and thus to deepen your mastery as an advocate.

Now we are in Kansas City. Come learn with us there!

By adding Persuasive Advocacy communication skills to our Dallas line-up, you can now earn your entire NITA Advocate Designation there!

Spread the word: new this year – Kansas City Depo. Dallas Persuasive Advocacy. NITA.




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

NITA Case File: Yount v. Molitor

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yountVmoliterBy Paul Zwier & William Hunt

For Fred Yount, being Hal Molitor’s protege, was getting caught in a downpour of pennies from heaven. By working hard at Hal’s business ventures, this trusted young lieutenant, partner, and friend became like the son Hal had never had, and for their part, Fred and his wife enjoyed the perks of work and play with Hal. But when Hal’s “investment” operation drew scrutiny from the SEC, the economy turned bearish, and Hal refused to reimburse Fred’s business travel expenses, Fred wisely tried to take the money and run-only there was no money. Hal invalidated Fred’s severance agreement, and Fred was broke despite almost two decades of loyal service. Penniless and feeling swindled out of what was promised to him, Fred sued for breach of contract, ultimately advancing the question of how to value restricted, lightly traded penny stocks in his now-disputed severance agreement.

Yount v. Molitor tests the student’s advocacy and non-medical expert witness examination skills through this full trial, which includes two fact witnesses per side, expert witnesses in stock valuation, and electronic evidence in the form of email, texts, and Facebook posts on online “microsites.” In this novel case of finance and flirtation, students will discover that there’s nothing like fifteen years of easy money, boozy dinners, and skinny-dipping by moonlight to complicate a lawsuit.

Faculty Materials: $35Order Now: at
Plaintiff Materials: $35Order Now: at
Defendant Materials: $35Order Now: at


Press Release: NITA Teaches Advocacy Skills To Malawi Court Officials

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Program part of NITA’s service commitment to support justice systems in emerging democracies worldwide

BOULDER, Colo., May 29, 2015 – The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) recently collaborated with Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI) and Justice Advocacy Africa (JAA) in sponsoring a training workshop that taught trial advocacy skills to court officers in the Malawi justice system.

Held April 8–10 in the capital city of Lilongwe, the three-day intensive workshop drew advocates, paralegals and police prosecutors from the Malawi Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Legal Aid Bureau and the Malawi Police Service, respectively, who received specialized training in courtroom advocacy and the trial process. Among the thirty-eight workshop participants were police prosecutors, whose attendance was crucial because, according to Jane O’Connell, IRLI Program Manager, they—rather than advocates—handle over ninety percent of the caseload in Malawi courts. Amidst the challenges faced by the criminal justice system in this emerging democratic republic is very limited governmental funding for legal aid services. Court officers in Malawi worked with IRLI to increase the capacity of court officers through faculty sponsorships by NITA and JAA.

Experienced trainers from NITA and JAA led attendees through a series of brief lectures, followed by mock trial exercises that emphasized the “learning by doing” model. The NITA and JAA trainers were also joined by Irish Senior Counsel Anne Power-Forde, who is a former judge of the European Court of Human Rights. NITA sponsored its board member Linwood C. (L.C.) Wright to serve as program faculty. Wright was joined by JAA faculty, JAA President Steve Fury and Hon. Matthew W. Williams, a Seattlebased district court judge and NITA faculty member. “One of the most effective ways to ensure the continued viability of the rule of law in emerging nations is to have a justice system that is transparent and fair, and as such, garners the confidence of the citizenry,” said Wright. “Solid advocacy is the hallmark of a fair justice system.” The legal advocacy training in Malawi, and others like it in Tanzania and Kenya, is part of NITA’s commitment to supporting the rule of law and justice systems in emerging democracies worldwide.

About the National Institute for Trial Advocacy
The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the world’s leader in advocacy skills training and publications. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, NITA’s mission is to train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in the pursuit of justice. To learn more, visit, or call us at 303.953.6845.

Evidence Problems

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Evidence-Problems-COVERby Bruce G. Berner

Judicial opinions are a wonderful tool to introduce students to certain principles embedded in the evidence rules, but the problem method of learning is a more efficient way for student to not only comprehend the purposes of the rule, but also to gain confidence in working with those rules.

Evidence Problems presents a set of problems designed primarily as supplementary material for an introductory course in Evidence. These problems allow the first-time evidence student to gain a working knowledge of how the rules work in connection with a set of recurring trial situations. Some problems are designed to be used after a lecture or a discussion of casebook, rulebook, or textbook material. Other problems are designed to cement a student’s understanding of the purpose and operation of a given rule of evidence. Evidence Problems also presents review problems for students to work through on their own.

Evidence Problems can also be used to help trial advocacy or trial practice students review the rules.

Retail Price: $45

Order Now in: ePub (iPad, Kobo, Nook, Sony), Mobi (Kindle) or Print

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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