When you give to the NITA Foundation, 100 percent of every dollar you donate is spent on the mission work that fulfills our goal of including public service lawyers in those who benefit from NITA’s training. As this quarter comes to a close today, we’d love to count on your support of the NITA Foundation and its important work of awarding scholarship assistance and creating programs for applicants working in careers that meet our public service attorney training objectives. This work is impossible without help from loyal donors like you.
Since 2003, the NITA Foundation has disbursed over $3.3 million in support of our programs and scholarships. There are so many ways to give—cash donations, memorial or honorary gifts, stock donations, planned giving, and even donations of your NITA teaching proceeds or NITA book royalties—and each way helps us award program scholarships to public services lawyers, provide NITA training programs in the public sector, defray travel expenses for program participants, and ensure the rule of law and access to justice in emerging democracies through our international programs. Visit www.nita.org/donate to make a secure online gift and learn more about how you can help.
In 2017, we’ve experienced record-breaking views in studio71, NITA’s online venue for free video content. Twice this year, we’ve hit 700+ registrants for a webcast, with nearly 50 percent tuning into the live broadcast.
It started in January, when current NextGen faculty Moe Spencer shared how to present a killer opening statement. Faculty (and tax whiz) Karen Hester followed in February, with a webcast on barriers and bias in the workplace. And last week, Judge Chris Whitten and Erin Nelson brought the house down with their discussion of views on expert witnesses from the bench and the stand.
If you missed these informative hour-long talks when they aired, don’t fret. They live on in perpetuity on our website, and are available for your viewing whenever you have the time. They’re not just free and available 24/7, but they also impart tips and tricks that you can take away and apply to your practice immediately, which makes them time well spent.
Click the links above to tune in—and while you’re at it, why not register for April’s free webcast? Communications expert Richard Levick will be talking about how to handle media during a crisis.
It seems funny now to think of him this way, but once upon a time, Mike Dale was a NITA attendee. “My first encounter with NITA took place at Hofstra Law School, when, as a trial lawyer practicing in Phoenix, I traveled east and took NITA’s trial skills program on Long Island,” he says. “After becoming a law school professor and teaching trial advocacy, I took the NITA teacher training program.” The rest, as they say, is history—a history with NITA that includes directing the Florida Deposition program for over twenty-five years, helping develop the new NITA Experiential Skill-Based Course on interviewing and fact investigation techniques now being offered to law schools, filming a lecture series and a webcast on child advocacy, co-authoring a case file on juvenile delinquency, and contributing articles to this very blog. Small wonder, then, that he received the Robert Oliphant Service to NITA Award in 2009. “Mike is a true NITA ambassador,” says Wendy McCormack, AED of Operations. And to think, it all started because Mike enrolled in a trial skills program. Catch him this summer teaching at NITA family law programs at Hofstra and in Boulder.
What made you want to become a lawyer?
Before going to law school, I passed the tests and was accepted into the Foreign Service. President Nixon froze the waiting list. So I went to law school hoping I would eventually be able to work as a lawyer in the State Department.
When you set out as a young lawyer, did you envision yourself one day as a law professor? How did it happen?
It never occurred to me during law school or for fifteen years thereafter that I would ever teach law. However, while practicing in Phoenix, I taught trial advocacy as an adjunct at Arizona State University. That experience caused me to think about teaching law.
What is the most exciting or interesting thing happening at law schools in 2017?
Watching and reading about the Ninth Circuit oral argument on the Trump executive order case on immigration. When the attorney representing the government hesitated and, in answer to a question from the panel, said there was no review of the order, the significance of Marbury v. Madison, which is taught in every constitutional law class, came back into vivid focus
You’ve mentored a number of your students in writing substantive articles that have appeared here on our blog over the last few years. How did they come into this opportunity? How do you decide the topic for each post?
My research assistants and I have written ten substantive blog articles for the NITA Legal Advocate, and three more are in the pipeline. The topics come from experiences I have had during NITA training programs when litigation-related questions pop up and it is clear that the answer the question is unclear. I have taken these questions back to the law school and have assigned my research assistant to write approximately five-page articles answering these very pragmatic litigation- and trial-related questions.
Why do you teach?
When one has done as many uncontested divorces, landlord-tenant trials, name changes, juvenile delinquency loitering cases, and fender-benders as I have, one develops some knowledge of the basics of the practice of law that one wants to pass on. The best way to do that is to teach both doctrinal and skills law courses from a very pragmatic vantage point. Seeing the light go on in the eyes of the student is what I describe as psychic income
What three things are vital to your day?
First, checking in with my wife and two daughters, both of whom, for reasons that continue to escape me, became lawyers. Second, teaching and meeting with students. Third, checking English soccer scores
In what ways are you the same as your childhood self?
I wear white shirts and ties to work, including at NITA programs just as I did when I went to Easter dinner at my relatives’ in Brooklyn.
If nothing were holding you back, what would you like to be doing in ten years?
Watching English Premier League soccer games in person in places like Southampton, Sunderland, and Swansea.
What song makes you nostalgic?
Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.”
What bores you?
Interrogatories, food programs on television, and faculty meetings.
What is your motto?
“Do what’s indicated”—my father’s way of saying do the right thing.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee early, tea late—but not chamomile.
Early bird or night owl?
Introvert or extrovert?
City or country?
Cats or dogs?
Classic or modern?
Popcorn or candy?
Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction—Colm Tóibín. Non-fiction—Robert Caro.
Enjoy this interview? Find more of our Asked and Answered interviews with NITA personalities here on The Legal Advocate.
NITA Board members Mike Kelly and Ben Rubinowitz served as Program Director and Faculty member at NITA’s Osaka Bar Association Public Service Program, which began on March 7th.
According to Kelly, he first came to Japan in 2008, 2009, and 2010 at the invitation of the Federation of Japanese Bar Association. He has stated that the Japanese unveiled their Saiban-In (or “lay judge”) modified jury system, the jury system is reserved for serious felony cases and involves the addition of six civilians to a panel of three professional judges. According to an article by Columbia Law School, panel member Takashi Maruta, called the Saiban-In a key component of the decade-long effort to democratize and add transparency to the criminal justice system of Japan.
Furthermore, according to Kelly, the Japanese had never tried cases to juries before, as their judicial system was set up by General MacArthur after the end of World War II to parallel the uniform code of military justice. Kelly has stated their initial training in 2008 was very successful and he has received periodic updates from the group of 100 lawyers of whom he trained.
“About a year ago a group of leaders in the Osaka Bar Association contacted me and wanted me to come back to do a series of teacher trainings and specialized focused skill trainings for them,” stated Kelly. Furthermore, Kelly believed the best way to accomplish these trainings would be to bring Rubinowitz along as a second teacher – start in Osaka for two days and then travel to Tokyo to do a training on Friday and Saturday (March 10 and 11).
Both Kelly and Rubinowitz have served as NITA Program Directors and Faculty members for many years and combined, have taught over 100 programs. Their experience and knowledge of the NITA method will help continue the success of the Osaka Bar Association Teacher Training program and advance the teaching skills of each participant from Osaka to Tokyo.
Each month this winter, my column features our NITA Staff members, in person and in their own words. In January you met our Programs folks, and in February, Publications. Today, please say “hello” to the Sales and Marketing pro’s, who make it easy for our participant lawyers and custom clients to arrange their NITA experience. With their insight into where the lawyers are who need NITA, they help us to reach far. They meet you with their sense of service. And the wholeness of the NITA Mission. Read on . . .
Online Marketing Specialist
I am responsible for NITA’s Digital Marketing initiatives. I help spread the word about NITA’s unique training methods in today’s online world.
NITA has always stood out with its learning-by-doing approach to trial advocacy training. I don’t see that changing. However, with new technology and strategies constantly emerging in the courtroom, you can bet you will see them in a NITA classroom as well.
Director of Client Relations and Manager – East
My job is to continually reinforce that NITA is the preferred skills development training solution for law firms, government agencies and individual attorneys. With empathy, I know and stay current with the challenges our potential clients face, and focus on solving any obstacles to enable them to work with NITA for their immediate and long-term benefit. We constantly seek new relationships with firms and agencies to help their attorneys learn and own great advocacy skills. In addition, we are working hard to bring greater awareness of the quality and affordability of NITA’s various training tools to more mid-sized and small firms.
Growing relationships with new clients as well as always bringing fresh ideas to our treasured existing relationships is the cornerstone for accomplishing NITA’s non-profit mission. I deeply enjoy both the discipline and curiosity that I use in bringing NITA’s mission and excellence to new clients. It is the part of the job that generates both the most frustration and the greatest personal reward.
Sales & Marketing/Programs Associate
My role in the Sales & Marketing Department has greatly developed over the past year and a half that I’ve been at NITA. Three very important tasks I continue to work on with my team include: developing content for our social media sites to promote NITA, assisting the Sales Team in lead generation, and working closely on the Public Service Programs to reach out and work with various organizations in the public interest realm.
The work I do at NITA is important to me because I believe by getting our name out there, and by always reaching out to organizations who may not know us, I can help NITA continue to grow. In growing, we train as many attorneys as possible, especially those in public interest who may not be able to afford training but desperately need it. I feel humbled to bring such a great tool for success to these people. I feel that because our marketing efforts expand each month, we grow each month, showing we are succeeding in our outreach.
Director of Sales & Marketing
The best part about my role in the Sales & Marketing department is that I get to watch an amazing group of people defy one of the age-old business clichés: Every time you DO something new, you DON’T DO (or do less of) something else.” I say not so fast my friend. We pride ourselves on trying something new while keeping other items running smooth. When the new things work, great, let’s do more of it. When they don’t work, great, let’s figure out why and try something else.
I see NITA continuing to be more and more focused on public service each year. We’ve done great public service work for many years but the momentum we have gained in the past 2-3 years is phenomenal and this year looks to be no exception. I see that continuing to grow and in an effort to help that growth, I am going to let you get to the rest of NITA Notes so we can go sell some more programs. Enjoy!
Client Relationship Manager – West
I have the pleasure of reaching out to faculty and clients in the western region to talk about the value of NITA programs. My goal is to ensure that the maximum number of attorneys can benefit from NITA training, via either custom or public programs.
As a former ski instructor and reading teacher, I know that learning by doing is the only way to transform any skill set. NITA’s faculty and methodology are unparalleled, and will continue to be relevant as long as there are attorneys who want to better represent their clients!
Client Relationship Manager – Central
As a member of NITA’s sales and marketing front line I act as a seek-and-collaborate missile. I identify groups of people from firms, companies, organizations, and associations who use or should use NITA’s expertise, and collaborate with their leadership and decision makers. This constant building of relationships and learning their needs has me contacting and visiting people daily so they are aware of all the great things NITA does and has to offer.
The future of NITA from my eyes is sustainable growth in servicing our mission while leading the industry with the highest quality legal skills education available. This future will be supported by mutually beneficial partnerships and a never-ending quest to improve overall legal advocacy across this country and abroad.
Please say “thanks” the next time you talk to these Sales & Marketing team members. I am proud of them.
And thank YOU.
Karen M. Lockwood, Esq.
President and Executive Director
National Institute for Trial Advocacy
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: