The Legal Advocate

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All posts by Alli Keefe

The Global Legal Post Series by Reuben Guttman – Part One

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For the month of August, NITA is featuring articles written by NITA  Faculty Reuben A. Guttman. Guttman is a founding member of Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC. His practice involves complex litigation and class actions. He has been recognized as a Washingtonian Top Lawyer by Washingtonian Magazine. Likewise, the International Business Times has called Mr. Guttman “one of the world’s most prominent whistleblower attorneys.” He has taught at NITA public programs since 2008,  most recently, NITA’s Deposition Skills: Seattle program, August 2-4.

NITA’s series of articles by Guttman are featured on The Global Legal Post. The first article, “Litigation in the Age of the Internet” shows readers how the use of emails and social media postings can be used as evidence and how it can change the nature and outcome of many cases. Guttman dives into an example of a case in which the FBI comes up with a list of witnesses in just an hour by doing some internet surfing among various social media sites that a person may have, as well as the detailed information that emails can provide. To read the full article, please click here.

Stucky v. Conlee, Parsell, and Nita City

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Author Gary S. Gildin presents readers with a civil rights action for damages case in the latest and timely file, Stucky v. Conlee, Parsell, and Nita City. Plaintiff Clayton Stucky is an African-American who works as a trooper with the Nita State Police. While off duty and driving his personal vehicle, Stucky was pulled over by two City of Nita police officers, who then sought consent to search the car.

Furthermore, officers Conlee and Parsell, both Caucasian, allege that Stucky was driving over fifty miles per hour on a city street zoned for twenty-five miles per hour. Conlee and Parsell issued Stucky a citation for driving at an unsafe speed. Stucky then sues the officers for damages caused by their violation and alleges they pulled him over for “driving while black.”

The file contains three witnesses for each side as well as a racial profiling expert and a medical expert available to both the plaintiff and the defendant, and electronic exhibits.

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Arkansas CIP/NITA Public Service Program

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The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) joined forces with Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts this year for a public service trial skills program. The program occurred June 14-16 and was held in Little Rock, Arkansas. This three-day intensive training of 46 public service attorneys was led by Program Director, Michael Johnson, who has taught over 100 NITA programs – custom, public, and public service.

This was the second year in a row NITA has worked with The Arkansas Administrative Offices of the Courts in order to put on a public service trial skills program for the advocates. Johnson served as Program Director both years and has had a great experience. “Over the one and a half years that we have worked with the advocates in Arkansas who toil in dependency/neglect proceedings, we have provided training for, and, hopefully enhanced the advocacy skills of more than 140 attorneys. The work these advocates undertake regarding children and families is so fundamentally critical to society. I cannot put it any better than one of the world’s truly inspirational leaders said it: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa. It is very rewarding as an advocacy teacher to work with these dedicated professionals.”

In true NITA fashion – each skill was presented in a “learning-by-doing” methodology where participants were able to learn the skill, practice, and receive immediate feedback/critique. One participant stated, “This was the best and most practical CLE I’ve ever participated in. I had not had training in anything that was covered at the NITA training and it was all very valuable information.”

New Mexico Public Defenders/NITA Public Service Program

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This year, NITA joined forces with New Mexico Law Office of the Public Defender for a public service trial skills program, June 8-9 in Albuquerque. During the intensive two-day program, the public defenders learned skills such as opening and closing statements, direct and cross examination, and exhibits. With a “drills-style” and NITA’s tried and true “learning-by-doing”, attendees were able to enhance their trial skills in this customized two-day program. NITA Program Director and Attorney Mary Jo Barr worked with Metro Division Managing Attorney Patricia Anders at the New Mexico Law Office of the Public Defender, to make sure the program schedule was customized to fit the needs of the public defenders.

“I loved this course. It was a very effective in helping boost my trial skills. I especially like that the course helps improve individuals from whatever their current skill may be,” stated one attendee. NITA programs cater to various skills levels which can often create a wide range of attendees.

Likewise, one attendee stated, “This was very helpful. I do not have much trial experience, and it was very useful to get some guidance on being an effective trial advocate. I appreciated the opportunity to practice in front of people, even when I felt uncomfortable.” NITA’s learning-by-doing method calls for many opportunities in which attendees practice a skill and then are able to receive immediate feedback and critiques. This approach means many chances to be on your feet and practicing.

Not only did the public defenders share their successes of the program, but Program Director Mary Jo Barr also felt the course very worthwhile. “Public Service is the noblest good – we hear it so often is has become a platitude. Working with the public defenders of the State of New Mexico at the NITA trial skills program and the difference between talking about public service and doing public service could not have been more obvious or rewarding. It may be a platitude to say it these days but it remains righteous to do it.”

The Evolving Deposition

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NITA Faculty and Attorney Reuben Guttman co-wrote an article for Law 360, The Evolving Deposition. Guttman mentions NITA’s Deposition Skills: Seattle program in which he states, “practicing lawyers are trained in the skills of taking and defending the modern day deposition. Students are therefore counseled against making speaking objections, and an entire session is held on coping with obstreperous counsel.” To read the full article and learn about how depositions have evolved over the years, click here. Congratulations Reuben and thank you for being a proponent of NITA!

*Please note – when clicking the link you may have to register to read the entire article. However, if you do a Google search: The Evolving Deposition Law 360 and click the first link, you can view the article in its entirety without registering.

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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