The Legal Advocate

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All posts by Alli Keefe

NITA Faculty Debra Ann Seaton Appointed as Circuit Court Judge in 2nd Sub-circuit of Cook County

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NITA would like to congratulate Debra Ann Seaton, whom the Illinois Supreme Court appointed as Circuit Court Judge to the 2nd Sub-Circuit of Cook County. The appointment became effective on May 18th. According to an article by Jack Leyhane, Seaton’s appointment was made on the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis.

Furthermore, Seaton has been a faculty member with NITA on over 20 programs since 2001. She has brought her knowledge of the courtroom to NITA’s Building Trial Skills: Chicago for many years as well as a variety of deposition, custom, and international programs.

Seaton’s election for full Circuit Court Judge occurs in March 2018 in the 2nd Sub-Circuit. To read Jack Leyhane’s full article on Seaton’s appointment, click here.

Problems and Materials in Evidence and Trial Advocacy 2-Volume Set

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In this newly updated two-volume set, Robert Burns, Steven Lubet, and Richard Moberly have carefully developed these case files in order to provide for completely integrated courses in evidence and trial advocacy.

Volume One contains two detailed case files, quite similar to the material a trial lawyer may have as he or she approaches trial. The first is a murder case while the second is a civil action for defamation.

Furthermore, Volume Two is designed as the workbook for coordinated courses in evidence and trial advocacy. It contains over 300 problems in evidence law and over 60 exercises in trial advocacy.

Retail Price: $130

Order Here: Print, Epub, or Mobi

State v. Gray

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Authors A.J. Bellido de Luna and Joseph E. Taylor create a fictionalized scenario that draws on inspiration from real-life occurrences in NITA’s publication, State v. Gray. This case file poses questions such as: what is the appropriate response for offices to take when they believe they’re in imminent mortal danger on the job? At what point does the use of force in an encounter diverge from being appropriate and justifiable, and cross into excessive and criminal?

Furthermore, State v. Gray avoids the issue of race on purpose to focus on whether the shooting of an unarmed individual is justified based on law. This well-balanced case file will challenge the student’s advocacy and medical and forensic expert witness skills through this full trial, which includes four witnesses per side. Students will prevail based entirely on their own prowess in advocacy and the way they use the abundance of evidence provided in the case file.

Retail Price: $38

Available in: Print or epub

Book Review by David L. Kwass: Jury Trials Outside In

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David L. Kwass, Partner at Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky PC, has recently reviewed the NITA published book by author Melissa M. Gomez, PhD, Jury Trials Outside In. Below is his review:

Jury Trials Outside In is a rare entry into the literature of jury trial analysis that is at once accessible and thought provoking, at once practical and theoretical. Whether explaining the theory of proactive interference, plumbing the mysteries of smiling jurors, or teaching us why phone numbers have 7 digits, Dr. Gomez’s concise tome offers powerful insights backed by memorable examples.

She answers questions about which trial lawyers on both sides of the “v” wonder and debate: Do jurors care about following rules or fairness? Can appeals to common sense backfire? How do I recognize thought leaders on my jury panel? Does the Sumo technique of yobi modoshi have an analog in modern trial practice?

Throughout this entertaining work, Dr. Gomez never loses track of her central theme, that the science of jury psychology can help us communicate more effectively with jurors. My advice? Buy the book and mark it up while reading. You’ll come back to it time and again, and be very glad you did.

Point Well Made: Oral Advocacy in Motion Practice

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Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik and Legal International Communications Coach Rebecca Diaz-Bonilla’s latest book, Point Well Made, teaches its readers how to effectively argue a motion before a judge. With invaluable perspectives from both on and off the bench, they teach you not only what to prepare before the hearing, but also how to be nimble and responsive upon arrival.

Vaidik and Diaz-Bonilla are both NITA Faculty who have continued to teach and specialize in oral advocacy for years. Diaz-Bonilla has been a Communication Specialist at several of our Custom Programs for the last 6 years. Vaidik has served as Program Director for both Custom and Public NITA programs since 2003 and has been part of the Faculty for more than 100 programs. Both Vaidik and Diaz-Bonilla have years of experience when it comes to arguing motions and therefore, you will gain the skills you need to feel more confident.

Point Well Made is a hands-on, practical guide that helps you devise your theme, persuasively relay your facts, simplify the law, prepare the right notes for the hearing, gain insight into your particular judge so you can customize your argument, and deliver the motion with confidence.

Retail Price: $60

Available in: Print

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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