The Legal Advocate

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Amy Hanley in Japan—In Her Own Words

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An important part of NITA’s mission is to support the global rule of law, and one way we do that is by sending our faculty members and training materials to courtroom advocacy programs, no matter where on earth they happen to be. This September, it was Japan. The PSIM Consortium—a group of professors, deans, and representatives from over thirty Japanese law schools dedicated to improving advocacy skills instruction at Japanese law schools—held such a training program at Waseda University in central Tokyo. As part of our Agreement of Cooperation with the Consortium, we were honored to dispatch two of our faculty members, Judge Amy Hanley of the Seventh Judicial District in Lawrence, Kansas, and Judge Chris Whitten of the Superior Court of Arizona in Phoenix, to teach at the program. Our thanks go to the PSIM Consortium for its continued friendship from across the miles, and to Judge Hanley for sharing these photos and impressions of her trip to Japan.

I wanted to write and extend a sincere thanks for giving me the opportunity to teach in Japan at the PSIM Consortium. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

The program was efficient and effective. I was amazed at how quickly the Japanese students incorporated the feedback despite the extra link of interpretation in the teaching process. I was also thoroughly impressed with the professors who observed. What a commitment to the improvement of advocacy in their schools! In addition to thrilling the foodie in me, the divine, extravagant dinners served an academic purpose. Chris [Whitten] and I had fulfilling discourse with some of Japan’s most accomplished and dedicated educators about the importance of trial skills.

Our hosts were most warm and gracious at every turn and I adored the country. I learned so much about the Japanese culture and people. They are all so refined in manner and speech—I was in awe. Akira [Fujimoto] made time to take us to observe a court hearing which was worth our time and helped me understand the Japanese judicial system. Even the sightseeing we did was extremely thoughtful, a wonderful variety of experiences and events. I loved the Sumo, the day trip to Kamakura, the shrines and temples, and they even satisfied my appetite for shopping. I now consider [members of the Consortium] my good friends. I have rarely met such wonderful people.

Kudos to NITA and the PSIM Consortium! This is a prestigious partnership, and I’m proud to be part of it. Thank you for honoring me with this opportunity. I will treasure these memories.


J. C. Lore recently taught advocacy skills to lawyers at a Lawyers Without Borders program in Kenya this fall. If you have taught at one of NITA’s international programs and would like to to tell The Legal Advocate all about it, please email Marsi Buckmelter. We’d love to signal-boost your story.

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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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