The Legal Advocate

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

Monthly Archives: July 2015

NITA Case File: State v. Casey

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stateVsCaseyBy Joseph E. Taylor

In State v. Casey, the defense and the prosecution agree that Bill Melton and his eleven-year-old son Stephen were murdered in their home with Bill’s own shotgun. What they don’t agree on, however, is who pulled the trigger.

Michael Casey, the eighteen-year-old defendant, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his stepfather and half-brother. Michael confesses to Detective Stevens but later recants, contending that it was his mother, Dianna Melton, who actually murdered Bill and Stephen to collect $500,000 in insurance money. The prosecution stands by its case that Michael, allegedly inspired by a made-for-television movie about a teenager who murders his family under similar circumstances, killed both victims–and would have killed his own mother, too, if he hadn’t run out of shotgun shells.

This second edition of State v. Casey tests the student’s advocacy and medical expert witness skills through this full trial, which includes four witnesses per side, including the coroner and forensic experts in fingerprint and blood spatter analysis, and electronic evidence in the form of Facebook posts on an online “microsite.” The case file also includes CD-ROM containing the exhibits.

$35Order Now: at lexisnexis.com

July 2015 Executive Director’s Letter: NITA’s Annual Report, A Happy Glance Back, New Things Ahead

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Lockwood_Karen

We look back every year to count our programs, the people we reach, the faculty we thank, the public service program impact, and the liveliness of our famous publications both bound and digital. I am proud to say, “we are so proud!”

Please, now, click here to enjoy our visual, colorful 2014 Annual Report. I explain how we carry this forward in 2015.

  1. For publicly enrolled programs, in 2014, 924 NITA faculty trained 1863 attendees at 65 publicly enrolled programs, plus 37 who took on-line programs. Lawyers from all 50 states attended, plus 5 continents. We continue to train and deepen our faculty bench. Send us referrals to the best trial lawyers in your region!
  2. For custom programs, including those exclusively for public service attorneys, in 2014 NITA trained 3241 attorneys, 19% of whom are in public service practices. We continually expand our custom offerings based on the client’s objectives, and invest in continuing our public service work.
  3. For video content, studio71 is exploding. In 2014, on-line integrated learning tools were selected by 8235 lawyers, from 384 presentations available, amounting to 4376 hours viewed. Our video library is strong and growing. Our signature new trial and deposition lectures and demonstration are coming online. These streaming tools mirror the high quality and intensity of NITA’s programs, and are elected for certain programs as bonus tools.
  4. For publications, our famed and unique case file collection grows and updates, targeting new types of disputes, factual scenarios that mirror our online culture, and more. In 2014, we report 144 active case files. We have many more case files than you would have heard of – you should use more of the gems in the collection. Pick them to make your class or program new and unique. Email Jennifer Schneider.
  5. You can’t say “publications” without saying “eBooks too” for our NITA treatises, guides, and more. In 2014, 70 of our non-case file titles were available in eBook format. These collections expand annually. Check back twice a year with the semi-annual catalogue, or online any time. NITA pubs: unique, practical, organized for quick reference, the best balance in a case file.
  6. The NITA Foundation gave 107 scholarships in 2014 – making a big difference to that many lawyers. But 201 applicants left an almost 50% shortfall in the scholarship funds available. We aim to increase our donations from $144,935 in 2014 to over $200,000. Please help here. Our Giving Voice online newsletter will inspire and explain.

I would love to hear from you. Email me, call my office. There is nothing more important to NITA than you, our faculty, attendees, admirers, supporters and friends. Spread the word in your regions, to your friends!

Karen_ShortSig

 

 

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

Doris Cheng Inducted as Fellow of ATL, Speaks for Her Class

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Cheng_DorisOur own Doris Cheng, NITA-San Francisco faculty leader, was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in June. Honored at ACTL’s June 2015 Spring Meeting in Key Biscayne, Doris was further selected to accept the honor on behalf of the 82 new Fellows in her class. She was spectacular. Her speaking photo delivers the framework for the punch of her words. Her words reflect the devotion needed to achieve ACTL’s mission, and NITA’s mission as well:

“If you will please indulge me because I do miss my father, I have a collection of his poetry that I translated from Chinese to English. He wrote this in 1997 when he had been diagnosed with cancer. We were visiting China in [his home town] Gualing, and he wrote:

‘The weary sun looks down at the sycamore tree.
Sweet Agmontis burst open in greeting.
Behold the mountains and river and climb the crooked path.
Without realizing it you have reached the cliff of the immortals.’

“That is what I wish for all of us, that we shall reach that cliff to change history, to right all the wrongs in the world, and immortalize it for the people who come behind us. As you look to your left and you look to your right, you must see what I see: a ripple of hope that the strength of this organization will never surrender the fight to protect the right to a just, equal and democratic society.”

NITA, too, is defined by the community of our mission. Looking across our faculty and alumni, seeing the ripple of hope that the NITA teachings, and the effectiveness of our learners, will press forward into our courts. It will work in all sides of a case, on all types of matters, in all levels of courts. It will never allow mediocrity in advocacy to weaken the role of justice, thus “protecting the right to a just, equal, and democratic society.”

Congratulations, Doris. Hands together to your fellow inductees. We salute our friendship with the College through the fit between our missions and the dedication of our communities of advocates. And we are proud of all of NITA’s faculty Fellows of ACTL.

The American College of Trial Lawyers is among the top honorary societies for lawyers in the country. It’s been around for sixty-five years, and membership is by invitation only. There is an intense vetting process, and the membership cannot exceed 1% of the total lawyer population of any state.

NITA is the preeminent provider to lawyers of greater advocacy skills. Learned the hard way by performance before unique NITA faculty, skills are acquired through nuanced critiques and practice. NITA faculty are selected from among the finest trial lawyers, advocates, judges, and law professors, for their combined mastery of advocacyr teaching.

Welcome the Newest NITA Advocates

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NITA is proud to announce the 2015 Second Quarter recipients of the Advocate Designation. This designation is awarded to a person who has taken a well-rounded set of courses, proving they are serious about trial advocacy.

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  • Brian D. Liddicoat | Law Offices of Brian
  • Konrad Sherinian | Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian
  • Justin Carter | Justin Carter Barrister at Law
  • Jesse A. Schaefer | Womble Carlyle et al
  • Veronica V McNally | Michigan State Univ Clg Of Law
  • Drew Bruner | The Bruner Law Firm
  • Gerald Meyer | MoloLamken LLP

If you have any questions on how you can receive the NITA Advocate or NITA Master Advocate Designation, please review the information on our Advocate Designations page, or email Pam Rowinski.

NITA Publication: Fact Investigation, Second Edition

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factInvestigationby Professor Anthony Bocchino and Paul J. Zwier

In a successful litigation, it isn’t enough to know the facts. You must also know how to interpret and use those facts, and thoughtfully delving into the stories behind them is a crucial task if you hope to prevail for your client. Fact Investigation, by longtime NITA authors Paul Zwier and Anthony Bocchino, will change the way you approach cases for the rest of your career.

The Second Edition is fully revised, with special emphasis on the impact of the proposed Federal Rules Civil Procedure changes, and features an important new chapter on e-discovery. Rare is now the case that doesn’t involve some form of electronic evidence, and every litigator must know the ever-expanding issues surrounding it. Find out how e-discovery strategies differ from plaintiff to defendant and how to manage your client’s competing rights to both speech and privacy in our highly discoverable online world.

Retail Price: $55

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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