The Legal Advocate

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Cook County Public Defenders and NITA Public Service Program

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This year, NITA joined forces with Cook County Public Defenders for a public service trial skills program, April 25-28 in Chicago. During the four-day program, the public defenders learned skills such as direct and cross examination, using exhibits, courtroom communication, and more. NITA Program Director and Professor, Robert Burns, led the program while working with Chief of Professional Development at Cook County, Parul Desai.

Furthermore the 22 public defenders who attended the program had great things to say about it. One participant stated, “The course was great! I learned a lot and the atmosphere was extremely supportive. It helped me get my confidence back!” Keeping with NITA’s “learning-by-doing” method, another participant stated the NITA teaching method was extremely helpful in improving trial skills.

Not only did the public defenders share their successes of the program, but Burns as well felt the course very worthwhile. “NITA provided an intensive four-day trial practice program for over 20 committed and gifted young trial lawyers from the Law Office of Cook County Public Defender. The Public Defender, Amy Campanelli, strongly encouraged the training and it provided a perfect synergy of experienced NITA teachers, the matchless NITA method, and eager young lawyers who are in the trenches every day.”

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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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