The Legal Advocate

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From the Director’s Desk: October 2018

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In September, it felt like Colorado’s unexpected heatwave would never end. But now, when I walk outside in the morning I feel that brisk, autumn air and see the golden leaves of autumn creeping further and further down the mountains. Change—we see it with the passing of the seasons, we see it in our children, and we even see it in the technology we carry around with us. It’s sometimes hard to see it in our organizations. It can be even harder to see it in ourselves. Yet, it’s there, happening all around us in various ways, in varying degrees.

Changes came to NITA in 2018, and will continue to come in 2019—some are predictable, some will be surprises.

  • Change in Leadership—and not just at HQ. We had some leadership changes at the program level. Paul Enriquez retired from our Building Trials Skills: Dallas program. Holly Lake at DLP Piper took the reins of our Deposition Skills: Los Angeles program. And we had new Program Directors taking on that role for the first time: Amy Hanley (Seventh Judicial District Court of Kansas); Suparna Malempati (John Marshall Law School); Neil Kodsi (Law Office of Neil Kodsi); Rhani Lott (Emory University School of Law); Annie Deets (DeKalb County Public Defender); Andrew Deiss (Deiss Law); and Richard Hutt (Cook County PD).
  • Change in—our new website will launch soon and we hope you love it as much as we do. We welcome feedback to ensure it’s providing the information you need in an easy, efficient and usable way.
  • Change in Programming—we’ve put on some exciting new programs like Questioning Techniques, which opens up our learning-by-doing experience to non-lawyers. Our Immigration Matters program is for those specializing in immigration advocacy. And we’ve been experimenting with some eLearning modules that we hope to roll out in 2019 for our online deposition programs.
    2019 will bring more exciting changes.
  • We will kick off the year by welcoming a new Board Chair, Ben Rubinowitz from the New York firm Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman.
  • We will have a joint session with our Program Directors and Board to collaborate on NITA’s strategic focus.
  • Robert Manley, of McKool Smith, and Stephanie Ledesma, of Thurgood Marshall Law School, will lead our long-standing Building Trials Skills: Dallas program.
  • We will see the retirement of some of our core Program Directors, who have been building up new leaders for successful program transitions.
  • We are excited for our new publishing partnership with Wolters Kluwer.

Most of all, the change I’m looking forward to is the growth of our culture where we are truly aligned, accountable, transparent, and resilient. With a strong culture across our mighty nonprofit, we have the strength to make planned changes—and the flexibility to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities.

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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