The Legal Advocate

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Get To Know NITA’s 2017 100 Hour Club Part 1

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Here at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy we are fortunate enough to have over 800 volunteer faculty each year. We would like to take a moment and introduce to you those faculty who have given us over 100 hours of their time in 2017 to help train advocates all over the globe. In part one of this series we highlight three of these faculty members.

Allison Rocker
Assistant Director of the Prosecution and Code Enforcement unit at the Denver City Attorney’s Office
Volunteered 110 hours in 2017, teaching at several programs including; Building Trial Skills: Philadelphia, Deposition Skills: Bay Area, Building Trial Skills: San Diego, and our 2017 National Session.

How did you first become involved with NITA?
I was invited to attend teacher training by a close mentor and friend. From the first hour, I was hooked. I loved the method, I loved the people, and I loved the idea of better preparing those in our field in an effective and inclusive way.

Why do you teach for NITA?
I’ve worked in the public sector for my entire career―I see NITA as another way to serve my community. Hearing from students after courses―either with feedback or questions about how to put together an opening for an upcoming case―is incredible. The impact NITA has on the individual as a whole is obvious to me, and I find it inspirational to watch our students improve just in a matter of days.

Is there a particular NITA program that’s dearest to your heart?
I was invited to teach at a program on the Navajo Nation. The participants ranged drastically in age, skill, and legal knowledge. Yet, they were all deeply hungry to learn so they could better represent their community and their culture which they cared deeply about. I was teaching with a group of people who were so energizing and committed―it was a true honor.

What do you hope to bring to the legal profession?
It’s a privilege to do what we do―to work in the legal profession. If I can encourage an attorney to have more confidence in themselves by providing them with the tools and knowledge to be a more effective advocate―that’s a win.

Jayme Cassidy
Director of the Veterans Law Clinic and Legal Incubator at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law
Volunteered 178 hours in 2017, teaching at several programs including; Deposition Skills: Florida, Building Trial Skills: Philadelphia, Building Trial Skills: Florida, and Deposition Skills: New Jersey.

How did you first become involved with NITA?
I was invited to teach in the NITA Fort Lauderdale Trial program when I was a public defender. I would teach off and on when I had time. Longtime NITA faculty member, Mike Dale, reintroduced me to NITA when I launched the Veterans Law Clinic at Nova Southeastern University. Mike helped me appreciate that teaching for NITA is not something you do sporadically . . . it is a lifestyle.

Why do you teach for NITA?
The ability to work alongside attorneys who have the passion and ambition to teach and learn is rewarding. Each program is a dynamic opportunity to enhance my legal skills and cultivate relationships. Every program is an enjoyable, fulfilling experience.

Is there a particular NITA program that’s dearest to your heart?
I have met fabulous people through NITA programs. I look forward to seeing friends annually at some of my favorite programs. The public service programs are dear to my heart because the attorneys in those firms advocate for vulnerable groups, special populations, and social causes.

What do you hope to bring to the legal profession?
I hope to foster access to justice and make an impact on the current justice gap through innovation. Effective and ethical advocacy can be delivered in many platforms. Training lawyers and developing unique ways to help fellow attorneys deliver fair administration of justice will promote “justice for all.”

Michael Dale
Faculty at Nova Southeastern University Law Center
Volunteered 199 hours in 2017, teaching at several programs including; Deposition Skills: Florida, Next-Level Trial Techniques, ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy, and Building Trial Skills: Florida.

How did you first become involved with NITA?
My first encounter with NITA took place at Hofstra Law School, when, as a trial lawyer practicing in Phoenix, I traveled east and took NITA’s trial skills program on Long Island. After becoming a law school professor and teaching trial advocacy, I took the NITA teacher training program.

Why do you teach for NITA?
I teach for NITA for two reasons. First, it is categorically the most effective means of teaching litigation skills to lawyers and law students. Second, for decades NITA has included in its mission training lawyers who could not otherwise afford the training NITA provides. This includes lawyers representing parties in child abuse and neglect cases, immigration cases, legal aid matters, and cases on Native American reservations.

Is there a particular NITA program that’s dearest to your heart?
Representing the whole child independence and juvenile delinquency cases at Hofstra Law School.

What do you hope to bring to the legal profession?
It’s simple. A commitment to the most professional and ethical practice possible.

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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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