The Legal Advocate

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Training the Child Advocate – NITA Public Service Program

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For the second year in a row, NITA partnered with Baker McKenzie LLP and Facebook for a unique public service program at the Facebook headquarters which trained both attorneys in child advocacy and in-house counsel looking to do more pro bono work.

This three-day program trained 43 participants and was led by NITA Program Director Angela Vigil. Vigil is also Partner and Executive Director of Pro Bono Practice at Baker McKenzie LLP. At the conclusion of the program, Vigil stated, “This program was about mixing experience and expertise from lawyers from different parts of our profession – public interest to private bar pro bono – to unite and learn NITA’s unique techniques to make better advocates for children. Where the participants varied in their day-to-day practice, there was no variation in their true commitment to justice for children through excellent legal practice. We were all proud to be a part of it!”

Likewise, NITA Faculty Member Ben Rubinowitz, also found the program to be extremely helpful for those advocating for children and wanting to improve their advocacy skills. “More than ever these children need good, solid representation,” said Rubinowitz, “especially with what is going on with the unfortunate child separation policy recently enacted by our government. Clearly, these children have no idea how to navigate their way through the legal system and can suffer life long injury if not represented properly. I am honored to be a part of this program. These lawyers are truly champions of children’s rights. They will make a difference. I applaud the efforts of Facebook in donating their facility and all the lawyers who so generously gave their time to help children in their time of need. Some of these children have had their lives turned upside down, some have been forced into prostitution, some have become drug users and many are just too afraid to speak up. This is why advocates are needed.”

Furthermore, NITA Executive Director Wendy McCormack, who had the opportunity visit the Facebook headquarters for the program, stated, “The partnership between NITA, Baker McKenzie, and Facebook is what allows us to do this unique program. The advocates leave better than they arrived, inspired and confident to take on their next challenging case. We are excited to explore opportunities to expand with other partners to offer a similar model of programming.”

 

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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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