The Legal Advocate

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From the Director’s Desk: March 2018

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I had a 100-day plan: a platform, a place to start before undertaking the role of NITA’s fearless leader, a way to measure my first 100 days on the job. Want to know what was on my 100-day plan?

  • Writing and coordinating press releases and announcements.
  • Training and developing a transition schedule.
  • Conducting a New Leaders Assessment (you’re thinking, what the heck is that? It’s related to a 360 evaluation but more strategic) by seeking feedback from our Board, Program Directors, and staff; analyzing that feedback; and reporting back to those constituents the takeaways.
  • Developing an ED-specific communication strategy: still a work in progress and I want to make sure we get it right, for you. It includes items you’ve already seen—Facebook posts, ED letters, welcoming program participants at NITA HQ—but there is more, so much more, that I can and will do in my role. Stay tuned.
  • Completing 10-city listening tour. I gave myself 90 days to complete a 10-city listening tour. Between January and February, I spent 10 days traveling to those 10 cities to engage with our community (a mix of faculty, alumni, professional development personnel, partners, law professors, board and advisory council members). Now the work to summarize and identify themes from all the information I learned from guided discussions and exercises begins—all to take us into the April Board retreat as we continue our strategic planning.

With just a few date changes, the 100-day plan worked! The massive undertaking of a 10-city listening tour, assessment feedback and reporting out, training and transition, communication strategy, plus regular NITA operations, all happened as planned. I’ve spent a lot of time on messaging for staff to increase engagement, create a culture aligned with our core values, and push us to results-oriented thinking.

Developing my own communication strategy is still a work in progress. I am still thinking how to best connect with each of you on a more consistent basis. My overall goal remains to engage, align, inspire, and move people to act. That includes each of you.

Thank you to everyone who participated in a round table (we still have two scheduled), responded to my New Leaders Assessment, and called or emailed to tell me why NITA is important to you and how you view NITA’s future. I look forward to hearing from more of you as we move forward together.

Wendy's Signature




Wendy McCormack
Executive Director
National Institute For Trial Advocacy

About Wendy McCormack

Wendy joined NITA in 2006, serving as Director of Programs through 2010, then led Operations, where she provided leadership oversight and mentorship the NITA leadership team in Marketing & Sales, Program Operations, Publications, and Information Technology. Wendy has directed all aspects of core business and operational development function for 300 continuing education programs across the United States and internationally. As Executive Director, she works collaboratively with professional staff, the Board of Trustees, and the organization as a whole in developing and implementing strategy, modeling and setting the company’s culture and values, and optimizing financial performance. Wendy received her master’s degree in education, with an emphasis on organizational development and human resources, from Colorado State University (CSU). In 2016, she completed the intensive Organizational Leadership Program at the Employers Council’s Nonprofit Leadership Institute in Denver.

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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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