The Legal Advocate

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Monthly Archives: August 2015

NITA Case File: Taylor v. Pinnacle Packaging Products, 3rd Edition

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By  Andrew P. Rodovich & Thomas (Jay) Leach

Taylor-3d-TrialIn the Third Edition of Taylor v. Pinnacle Packaging Products, Inc., the plaintiff, Jamie Taylor, was hired by the defendant, Pinnacle Packaging Products, Inc., to work in the company warehouse. During her employment, the plaintiff claims she was sexually harassed by the warehouse manager, John Hamilton. Taylor was fired by Hamilton during her probation period. The plaintiff alleges that she was fired because she resisted the advances of Hamilton. Taylor has sued Pinnacle under a Title VII claim for sexual harassment and wrongful discharge.

There are three witnesses for the plaintiff and four for the defendant.

A deposition version of Taylor v. Pinnacle Packaging Products, Inc. is also available in plaintiff, defendant, and faculty versions. The deposition and trial files are fully integrated, so that students may use the deposition materials to study deposition practice and then go on to study trial practice using the trial materials.

A CD with exhibits is included with the file.

There are two witnesses for both the plaintiff and defendant.

Trial Materials $35 | Order Now At:
Faculty Materials $35 | Order Now At:
Plaintiff Materials $35 | Order Now At:
Defendant Materials$35 | Order Now At:

Press Release: Don Green’s Inurnment And Honor Guard Ceremony

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August 24th, 2015

In case you have not already heard this separately, Don Green’s inurnment and honor guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery will take place on Friday, November 13 at 11:00 am and you are welcome to attend. He touched so many people and we are lucky to have been among them.

To read more on Don Green, view our memory article here.

August 2015 Executive Director’s Letter: Women Trial Lawyers – Brilliance Is Shining

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Because we are NITA, and because we enroll nearly comparable numbers of men and women across our live programs for trial skills and depositions, we know several things:

  • Lawyers who learn, practice, and perform at trial excel in advocacy without distinction among gender.
  • Lawyers care about using the best advocates, paying attention to the diversity of the advocates who appear at trial. And women are ready. They bring their commitment, a competitive spirit, and the drive to master their courtroom impact into our programs.
  • Women in First Chair at trial are vastly underrepresented. This need not be.

Marshalling the strength of this half of trial bar remains an unfulfilled imperative. Brilliance shines. But competition for first chair favors the incumbents. Bringing the balance, variety, talent, and credibility of a woman trial lawyer to the jury and judge requires that each of us stop. We read and learn where the career obstacles are. We coach the woman and champion for her, to overcome the obstacles. For the women you know, right there in your practice, do it personally. Whatever your gender.

1974. The vice-president for sales of a very large public company learns I am embarking on law school. “A woman! What do you want to do,” he says at the picnic. “Be a litigator? That is nearly impossible for a woman – grinding, long hours, tough world.” I believe him to be urging me by misdirection to follow that plan. If not, it doesn’t matter: I take the red alert to heart. (And from it, am indeed spurred on.)

1982. The three women partners at our DC firm of 90 lawyers gather the 15 women associates (we are a progressive firm) in the building lobby for lunch out. The elevators bring cab after cab of partners down, elbowing their way through our small throng. Glancing up to wonder about this crowd, this expression crosses their lips – or their faces. “Oh! Ooooohhh.” (Point made.)

1994. We six women partners in a prominent boutique firm of 90 lawyers gather our 25 women associates for a chat in the gorgeous windowed conference room: 250⁰ river views, and beers in a bucket. “Let’s think about how we can get together regularly, support each other and champion each other.” There is little interest. Why? They do not see a reason. Rather, the risk of labelling themselves as unique amid their male associates warns them off. (“Oh. Oooooohhh.” Our turn, different angle.)

2005. Across the country, the broad culture around women in law remains silent, symptomatic of the 1995 days. The playful urges, the purposeful championing of women – it has gone away, perhaps thought unnecessary, likely unpopular. And, thus, certainly risky.

So, in 2006, we at the WBA in DC convened 220 lawyers to talk engage in finding solutions. For 16 hours over 4 monthly sessions, managing partners and bar leaders eagerly exchanged the frustrations and the ideas around elevating the talent and success of women lawyers. The WBA’s published report covered Women in Law Firms (Creating Pathways to Success, May 2006). Silence ended. Continuing reports covered Women of Color (Creating Pathways to Success for All Women, May 2008), and Women Corporate Counsel (Navigating the Corporate Matrix, May 2010)

Focusing on women trial lawyers, is it better now? An important new research report was just released by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession. First Chairs at Trial – More Women Need Seats at the Table (ABA Commission on Women, June 2015).

This report, an empirical study of cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, displays the substantial disparity of women as lead counsel as against women in the profession. It depicts types of cases in which women are more present, and less. Best practices are laid out for law firms, clients, judges, law schools, and women lawyers themselves.

In 2005, DRI also convened a task force to address women at trial. [A Career in the Courtroom: A Different Model of Success of Women Who Try Cases (DRI Women’s Committee, trial lawyer study (Defense Research Institute Task Force on Women Who Try Cases, 2005)]

These reports – and others like them from the Utah Women’s Bar and elsewhere, integrate the puzzles of the practice environment, the pressures that women face, the systems and structures of the practice, and the importance of fixing the imbalance of women in trials. Those are the starting points for understanding the factors at play, rather than relying on personal opinion. I commend them for reading.

And I advocate that we all pursue excellent trials by opening the access to first chair for the best trial lawyers – without leaving behind the women, lawyers of color, and lawyers in other groups that deal with culturally maintained stereotypes. Indeed, bringing forward that talent requires positive action.




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


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Written by guest blogger Judge McGahey
As I’ve stated on numerous occasions, I’m an Anglophile of huge proportions. For this month’s movies, I’ve picked three British films that have divorce as a driving element of the plot.

posterBillOfDivorcementWe’ll start with 1932’s A Bill of Divorcement[1]. This is the second movie based on a British play of the same name. The play was inspired by a law passed in England in the ‘20’s that allowed a woman to divorce her husband if he were found insane. In this movie, Billie Burke plays Meg Fairfield and Katherine Hepburn stars as her daughter, Kit. Meg has obtained a divorce from her psychotic husband, Hilary, with the assistance of Gray (Paul Cavanaugh) the man she now intends to marry. Kit, too, is engaged to be married, to concert pianist Sydney (David Manners[2].) This happy quartet is thrown completely out of kilter by the shocking Christmas Eve arrival of Hilary, played by the ineffable John Barrymore[3] Hilary has escaped from the asylum, and thinking he’s cured, expects to resume married life with Meg. How his desire plays out affects not just Meg, Gray and Hilary, but Kit and Sydney as well.

divorceOfLadyXWe’ll next turn to The Divorce of Lady X, from 1938. This comedy of mistaken identities has a seriously all-star British cast: Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon, and Ralph Richardson. Olivier plays an uptight lawyer, who because of an exception London fog and a shortage of rooms, ends up a chastely sharing his hotel room with Oberon for a night. Fascinated by the lady, the lawyer tries to connect with her. When she avoids him, he convinces himself that the lady must be married. The lawyer then is hired by Richardson’s blustery husband to represent him in a divorce – and you know who the lawyer decides the wife must be. Don’t worry, it all works out in the end[4].

morgan!We’ll finish with Morgan! from 1966. A true artifact of the “swinging 60’s,” this film stars David Warner as a man trying to keep his ex-wife (Vanessa Redgrave) from remarrying. The film is full of references to English class differences: Morgan is an artist, the son of working-class parents, while his ex is seriously upper crust. Morgan’s efforts become more and more bizarre, and he eventually goes completely bonkers, ending up in the loony bin. But in the end, he’s actually the winner in his quest to reunite with his ex-wife – maybe. The film is a great deal of fun, notable for showing us Morgan’s internal fantasy life, which includes references to King Kong.

I know everyone doesn’t share my devotion to things English, but trust me, you’ll enjoy all of these movies!


[1] Slight cheat here: this movie is set in England, but was made in the United States.

[2] Most famous for playing Jonathon Harker in 1931’s Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi.

[3] A brilliant actor, known as the “the Great Profile.” He’s Drew Barrymore’s grandfather.

[4] Lady X is proof that the “rom-com” is not a new invention.

NITA Publication: Federal Rules of Evidence with Objections, 12th Edition

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By Anthony J. Bocchino & David A. Sonenshein

FRE-with-Objections-12th-coFederal Rules of Evidence with Objections, Twelfth Edition contains the complete text of the Federal Rules of Evidence as amended to December 1, 2014. This useful guide is organized for quick reference, with an alphabetical section of major objections, and includes practical tips and legal interpretations for each rule. The small-format packaging is designed so you can easily tuck the book into a pocket or briefcase. The spiral binding allows you to place the book flat on a desk or table, so you can quickly reference pages without damaging the spine.

In addition, the book lists key phrases for objections with thumb tabs for quick reference, and includes a mini-CD with the entire book in PDF format hyper-linked and bookmarked for ease of use.

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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