The Legal Advocate

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NITA and the Osaka Bar Association Public Service Program

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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.

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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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