The Legal Advocate

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Southern Poverty Law Center/NITA Public Service Program

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NITA and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) worked together in 2017 on a public service training program, November 30 – December 1 in Montgomery, Alabama. This program was headed by Program Director Michael J. Dale. Michael, along with four other NITA faculty members, traveled to the headquarters of SPLC to work alongside SPLC’s most senior trial lawyers and train 48 SPLC litigators. Michael also worked closely with Legal Administrative Manager at SPLC, Rosi Smith, in order to put together a training schedule that would fit the needs of the attorneys.

This trial skills public service training was conducted over two days where skills such as direct and cross examination, how to work with exhibits, impeachment, and much more were practiced. According to Michael, SPLC works in a variety of civil rights areas in a number of southern cities dealing with issues of racial discrimination, juvenile justice, and immigration – to name a few. SPLC is led by civil rights icon Morris Dees and Managing Attorney Richard Cohen.

After the training concluded, many of the attorneys who attended found the course useful and a good introduction in a short period of time. “I found it helpful. I just graduated law school and never did any trial advocacy classes, so this training was a good introduction,” stated one attendee.

Likewise, another attendee stated, “As a very new attorney, I found the course to be extremely helpful. All the presenters were clear and engaging… it was helpful to receive tips on what techniques are most likely to resonate with juries.”

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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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