The Legal Advocate

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Oh, the Places I Did Go . . . What the NextGen Experience Did for Me . . . and for NITA!

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written by NITA guest blogger, Jayme Cassidy

JaymeCassidyTheodor Geisel inspires me to this day. I’m not sure why this childhood Dr. Seuss addiction remains with me as an adult. It’s a brilliant gift to have the capability to simultaneously educate and engage an audience. Open any one of his books and the learning experience begins immediately. The reader and the listener are transported to a captivating place and the results are astounding. His fables take us on journeys that expose us to diversity. His characters coach us on the power of thinking outside the box and trying new things.

The More that You Learn, the More Places You’ll Go[1]
My experience as a NITA NextGen faculty was a real-life journey of discovery. A fascinating accumulation of enlightening endeavors that began in January 2016. A novice educational excursionist, I found myself zig-zagging across the country. By mid-July, I was seven programs richer.

Each one of my destinations was a melting pot of cultural nuances with assorted legal backgrounds in attendance. I knew early on from Geisel that “the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.[2] “ Each trip, I strived to improve my own skills and my ability to engage those around me. Bringing my “A game” became my new mantra. Geisel’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go![3] is an inspirational piece that encourages the reader to push forward, upward. This is what occurs when one attends a NITA program.

Midway through my journey, I grew a tad weary. The luggage became heavy and I could not think clearly. Miraculously, at my next stop, I met eager public service program participants. These attorneys touch the lives of many, people who cannot afford legal counsel. These attorneys yearned for the expertise to represent their indigent clients competently and soundly. That’s when I had my a-ha moment. My participation as a NITA NextGen extended beyond the participants, faculty, and destinations. It touched heart, soul, and essence of the choices I’ve made to be, at times, a public sector attorney. The suitcase fatigue and homesickness quickly dissipated. Time for the “double A game.”

Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out?[4]
When asked how I felt about receiving the award in January, I responded, “I am excited about this opportunity to be able to interact with colleagues from around the country who are eager to enhance their professional skills!”

The common characters in all the NITA programs are the attorneys. Coaches, with innumerable skills, collectively demonstrating how to successfully try new things and think outside the box. The participants: some are old, some are new, but all are present to improve what they do.

For some attorneys, the programs are a process for cementing a foundation of skills. Many attorneys attend to refine and enhance. Either way, by the end of the program it’s “98 and ¾ percent guaranteed[5]” you will see a stand-out performance.

Don’t Cry Because It’s Over. Smile Because It Happened[6]
My journey as a NextGen took me much further than distance and places. It was an expedition where I witnessed human intellectual achievement during each NITA program. My bag is still packed and I’m anxious to see old friends and new, at the San Diego Trial Skills Program and the Deposition Program at Nova Southeastern University.

I could never imagine the places I would go, the attorneys I would teach, the things I would learn, the people that I would inspire, and, most importantly, the gifts from those who inspired me.

For faculty and participants, it’s an intense dynamic opportunity to enhance skills and cultivate relationships. Surrounding myself with attorneys who have the passion and ambition to teach and learn by performance is intoxicating . . . an adult addiction.

I’m sure Dr. Seuss would have told me the moment my journey began that the award was not just for me, but for the entire NITA family.

My NITA journey, my adult addiction, will never end!

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[1] Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (1990).
[2] Id.
[3] Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990).
[4] Dr. Seuss.
[5] Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (1990).
[6] Credited to Geisel. Cannot be confirmed.

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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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