The Legal Advocate

A blog brought to you by the national institute for trial advocacy

All posts by Alli Keefe

Kansas Public Service Advocacy Skills/NITA Program

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On October 26-28 NITA headed to Kansas in order to conduct a public service training which was funded by a grant from the Kansas Bar Foundation. This training has been conducted for many years and was once again led by NITA Program Director, Judge C. William Ossmann who worked alongside longtime NITA Faculty Mark Caldwell and Judge Robert McGahey from Colorado, as well Public Defender Jessica Glendening, Assistant United States Attorney Dustin Slinkard, and Criminal Defense Attorney Paul Oller. Together – this team trained a diverse group – 6 legal aid attorneys, 3 public defenders, 4 prosecutors, and 4 attorneys from the Attorney General’s office.

The faculty came from a variety of backgrounds which brought immense knowledge on trial skills to the training. Of the diverse faculty, one participant stated, “The faculty worked well together and I appreciated that their feedback and remarks had consistency.”

The trial skills training was held at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, Kanas. This three-day training included skills such as: direct and cross examination, analyzing exhibits, and opening and closing arguments – following the tried and true NITA Method.  One participant stated, “This course was fantastic and I was able to use the tips and tricks I learned that weekend as soon as I was back in the office on Monday. I already feel more confident going into court because I am following the steps NITA laid out for me.”

Furthermore, Program Director C. William Ossmann stated, “It was rewarding to see everyone using their time together to improve their trial skills to benefit their clients, no matter where they might be seated in the courtroom.”

The Kansas program shifts year to year from eastern Kansas to western Kansas and will return to Topeka in 2018.

Federal Rules of Evidence

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The handy guide for U.S. Courts and Magistrates, Federal Rules of Evidence has been amended through December 1, 2017. The small-format packaging is designed so you can easily tuck the book into a pocket or briefcase. The spiral binding allows you to place the book flat on a desk or table, so you can quickly reference pages without damaging the spine.

Retail Price: $25

Order here in: Print, Epub, or Mobi

Robert VanderLaan Scholarship Memorial – Saturday, November 11, 2017

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On Saturday, November 11th, many gathered to honor and celebrate the late Robert Vanderlaan who dedicated 35 years of his life as a NITA faculty member. NITA Program Director Dan Rabinovitz and faculty member Jon Barnard helped to create a NITA program scholarship in Bob’s name. Jon, Dan and faculty member Mike Kelly (pictured from left to right) were all integral in organizing the event which was held at Mike Ditka’s restaurant in Chicago, one of Bob’s favorite places.

“The evening was a smashing success. People came from across the country to honor Bob’s memory. Many stories were told – people laughed and cried. The evening concluded with live music being played that Bob always loved.”

Many attendees gave memorable toasts as well – sharing stories and memories of Bob. Pictured to the right is NITA Faculty Thomas Geraghty giving his toast.

The Robert Vanderlaan Memorial Scholarship is still receiving donations. For information please click here to read NITA’s full article on how to donate.

 

 

 

 

Evidence in Context

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Written by Authors Robert Burns, Steven Lubet, and Richard E. Moberly, Evidence in Context is designed to create a fully contextual understanding of the law of evidence. It contains two relatively detailed case files, quite similar to the material a trial lawyer may have as he or she approaches trial. The second file is a civil action for defamation brought on by a former employee against her very wealthy employer. The cases raise realistic and challenging issues in the law of evidence and allow for a critical assessment of that law. They are followed by over 300 problems for class analysis and discussion.

Retail Price: $75

Order Here: Print, Epub, Mobi

Deposition Advocacy NITA Public Service Program

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The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) joined forces with Keller Rohrback this year for a deposition advocacy program for public interest attorneys to be held at their Seattle office. The 21 attendees came from organizations such as ACLU of Washington, Columbia Legal Services, Northwest Immigration Rights, and more. The program took place October 13-15 and was led by Program Director, Rhonda Laumann, who is also co-program director for NITA’s Deposition Skills: Seattle program. Rhonda worked with Tana Lin, attorney at Keller Rohrback, to put together the NITA public service program which was met with great feedback by the attendees.

Attorney Tana Lin gives a lecture on defending depositions.

“It was fantastic. I appreciated the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of attorneys, as well as meet a lot of attorneys in the public interest field that I had not yet met. The focus on one main subject and the repetition was helpful in learning a completely new subject to me,” stated one attendee. Repetition has always been a key element of the NITA Method as our faculty work hard to give each attendee the opportunity to practice a skill, receive immediate feedback, and have multiple opportunities to practice.

The three-day training consisted of skills such as The Funnel Technique, beginning the deposition, information gathering, witness preparation, and more. During these three days, attendees were given the opportunity to practice and perfect these skills in a small group setting. Many of the attendees really enjoyed the format of the program as well as the guidance of the faculty.

Likewise, another attendee stated the training was, “Very comprehensive. Given the time, I felt a lot of topics were covered that are essential for taking depositions. I also thought the staff was great. A wide range of insight and valuable information.”

Not only did the attendees have positive remarks about the program, but Tana, who served as faculty while working hard to put the program in motion alongside Rhonda stated, “Many participants told me how the NITA training was sorely needed, how it gave them hope to be training together, and how it gave them the skills to be even better fighters for the vulnerable populations they serve that are being attacked more than ever these days.”

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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