The Legal Advocate

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

All posts by Karen M. Lockwood

About Karen M. Lockwood

Karen is the Executive Director at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Karen brings the insights and creativity rooted in serving corporate and business clients, first-chairing numerous jury and bench trials, and arguing appeals. Her specialty areas have included construction litigation, large disaster cases, multi-party commercial disputes involving all types of contracts, antitrust, trademark and copyright, and ADR.

Jim Carrigan Memorial Service Notice

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Please join family and friends of Jim Carrigan for a memorial service in celebration of his life next week at CU Law School.  Below are the details with date, location and times.  Friends in the NITA community that live afar, please keep Jim’s loved ones in your thoughts.

Jim Carrigan Memorial Service
August 28, 2014
Wolf Law Building
2450 Kittredge Loop Road
Boulder, CO 80309

Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Event: Public Memorial Service
Location: Wittemyer Courtroom

Time: 6:30 p.m.
Event: Private Memorial Reception
Location: Second Floor Cafe

Please RSVP at the CU LAW Link –
See earlier post below for the full tribute to Jim Carrigan.

A Tribute to Jim Carrigan

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jimCarriganIf you ever had the chance to meet Jim Carrigan, consider yourself lucky to have been in the presence of such a humble, respected, kind, and educated man.  Jim was described as a remarkable human in all aspects of his life.  One of our founding friends and brilliant lawyer, judge, and leader, Jim Carrigan passed away at his Boulder home Friday afternoon.  Although the last years were difficult given his health, such a loss jars no matter how much anticipated.

His beloved wife Bev, family, and loved ones gathered in his remembrance over the weekend.  Those who gathered were sad to lose him and joyful to speak of his brilliance, humanity, compassion, humility, and faith. Beyond that, and uniquely Carrigan—at the funeral and in conversation—the thoughts honored his insight into justice, what justice requires, and how much injustice exists that is to be addressed and reversed.

Throughout his work in private practice, being a law professor, and becoming a U.S. district court judge, his professional accomplishments are highly known and respected.  He paired this with his love for education, love for Colorado, and most especially love for his family to leave a lasting mark on people’s lives and on the legal community.  We will have more to offer in memory of Jim, his force, and insights that NITA can draw from the examples and lessons he provided.  To carry his virtues forward is our task.

A continued posting will contain further details about contributing in his remembrance and shared thoughts from the NITA community about Judge Carrigan’s influence and impact.

For a more in-depth look at the celebration of his wonderful life, read further in the article from the Daily Camera and a detailed obituary.  A public memorial service will be held at the University of Colorado Wolf Law Building at a date and time to be determined.

August 2014 Executive Director’s Letter. NITA Growth and Accomplishments: Excitement Expressed to “Headquarters”

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In July, I asked you what “real people” activities you were planning for August. While you are in the middle of enjoying those activities (and we’d like to hear about them ), I hope you will enjoy our news about happy developments here at Boulder “headquarters.” (We pay attention also to being “real people,” enjoying homemade barbecue—thank you, Gary Pope, our HR director—and grilled burgers in the Rocky Mountain sun, as you can see in the staff party photos.)

I am happy to receive a wonderful crescendo of nice comments and interested new members of our network. We are witnessing the continued growth of NITA and the spread of NITA enthusiasm. You are part of making that happen.

We thank you for keeping NITA top of mind when talking with your lawyer colleagues and friends, for checking in with our news and opportunities on and on Facebook. Those who know us well already experience what I call “NITA Love”—a devotion that lasts a lifetime, thanks to the transformation from experiencing a live program. Talk about that transformation and unique experience, wherever you are!

Here are some more things you can talk about.

  • 2014 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Programs, awarded by ACLEA for our 2013 innovations using pre-recorded lectures to allow more time learning in-person “by doing” and NITA-quality critiquing. Press Release 8-12-2014
  • Outstanding, newly designed Annual Report released in early June. We are in our second printing! It is fun, interactive, and packed with information tied by our overarching mission. 2013 Annual Report pdf version. Contact us for your personal copy, which you will be proud to show others.
  • Year-long growth in public program enrollments continues through the summer. Focus your friends and colleagues on September through December—spaces are filling, and it is very helpful to sign up early and have time to prepare! We are now expanding program attendance limits as they exceed the planned size, so encourage latecomers call us to try to get in.
  • Urgent sign-up programs: Boston Deposition, September 12-14; Seattle Trial, September 2-7; Complete Advocate (Minnesota), September 13-19; Hanley Advanced Trial (San Francisco), September 15-19.
  • The complete program list and links through December 2014, in chronological order, is at You can navigate to “view all programs” or click here to find the August-December list. NITA programs 2014 chron
  • Planning the program lineup for 2015. We announce it in early fall, and are working to continue our fresh and ready, high-quality standards for all programs across the nation. Stay tuned online.
  • “Global impact.” That is how we describe the work that we turn attention to outside the fifty states. We understand the tight connection between skilled advocacy in fair justice systems and the rule of law. More interest is coming in from countries in important regions on all continents. We regard all with great attention and engage where we will have impact.
  • Handsome array of eBooks. Taking our unique and intensely useful publications onto our eBookstore, we are proud of the facile and attractive offerings of these electronic versions for Kindle and Apple devices. You may purchase our print publications from the website as well. If you are linking with LexisNexis, you will find paths to the print publications directly from there as well.
  • NITA Awards! We couldn’t do it without our stellar, imaginative, and devoted faculty members. Among the many, we receive many nominations for our three annual awards. This year the awardees are Jim McCrystal (Cleveland), Ben Rubinowitz (New York), Beth Sher (New York), and Dan Toomey. Thank you again, Jim, Ben, Beth, and Dan for all that you do—it is done with great talent! In case you missed the Press Release, click here. NITA Award Winners!

A unique free webcast next Tuesday, August 19, will address an important subject to us all and one that matters to every lawyer in court: bias in the courtroom. It promises to be an interesting focus on a subject that is always at play but that is subtle enough to miss. I hope to see you there! Sign up here: Bias in the Courtroom: What and Why / See It and Address It.

Much of the news I gather here appears in greater detail on our blog pages. Notice that the home page of The Legal Advocate shows “news columns” listed at the right side. The NITA Community column is particularly important for news that you wish to share with other faculty and NITA community members. Be sure to check there often—not all of those are emailed to you, so watch your favorite columns every week.

Finally—add your comments below. Hit the link, and share your good news and contributions with the NITA community. I would love to hear from you. (And remember—what are your “real people” refreshers this month?)




Karen M. Lockwood, Esq.
President and Executive Director
National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Note of Thanks from NITA Program Director Lou Natali

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Lou Natali, our long-time Program Director, program founder, and all-around good guy, sent me the following note.  He wants our NITA community to have this follow-up note of thanks following his daughter Giana’s death in January. Please say hello to Lou and remind him that our thoughts for him endure.

We had a lovely ceremony on Saturday, 7/26 dedicating a bench and plaque to Giana. We asked for small donations  but there were so many and so many generous friends, we gave the $5,000 excess to Paws. We will continue  to give to Paws over the coming years to remember our love for Giana. Anyone wishing to send something (no more than $10 please) can send it to Jessica Natali at her home address 367 Forrest Ave, Elkins Park, PA 19027. Thanks to all for supporting us and to those who have made gifts. – Lou

Karen M. Lockwood

February 2013 Executive Director’s Letter: Where Do You Fit In at NITA?

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Karen M. Lockwood

Karen M. Lockwood

You are a lawyer with trial skills.  You want to join the NITA collaboration, so you want to know where to start.  Or you now teach on the NITA faculty and want to do more.  Matching your energy and ambition to NITA’s organization is not a mysterious process.  As Executive Director, I can suggest a few ways for you to join the fun and learn by “teaching-the-doing”–and in the process, catch the energy that comes from being on your feet among faculty and authors who admire talent and know how hard teaching-the-doing is!

There are many pathways to becoming a contributor at NITA.

Faculty at Public Programs: Find a public program regularly featured near you, and reach out to us or to its NITA Program Director, who is likely a lawyer in your community.  The specialized NITA method requires precise training,  and your training would continue in the first program. The Program Director may identify you as a future faculty member, and we will be happy to know of your expertise and interest!  Who are we looking for?  Some of this:  Suppose you know depositions backwards and forwards.  You know expert witness work.  You get to trial occasionally (these days), have had a large or complex trial, and take leading roles.  You love cross-examination; you make stars out of your own witnesses who tell the story on direct.  Your penchant for oral advocacy is your prize: you wax eloquent but pithy; you read Rudyard Kipling and Winston Churchill for their poetry; you watch 12 Angry Men or My Cousin Vinny for fun.  We are looking for you. Suppose you are on your way to being that person?  We want you in our Next Generation cadre.

Award Season:   Are you a NITA faculty member already? We need you to be a leader in bringing attention to a NITA colleague for outstanding service as faculty, for development of innovative teaching techniques, or for outstanding service to NITA in general.  Please nominate your candidates for one of the three NITA awards. Be quick!  The deadline is March 1, and if you see reminders in your inbox over the next 10 days, smile and send us a nomination!

NITA Publications:  Yes, NITA is also well-recognized for its high-quality publications specializing in the highest level of practice in trial and dispute resolution.  Whether you have an idea for a new case file that grows out of an interesting scenario snatched from the headlines (or your docket), for a short manual in a key area of advocacy skills, for a treatise on a specialized subject in the litigation or ADR practice areas, or for a fun handbook on the practice of law, let us know.  If you want to write it, let us know that too!  If you have already written something, submit it to our acquisitions group.  We are foresighted, innovative, and practical.  If you want to have fun providing essential advocacy skill knowledge, you will love being one of our authors.

Your Own Voice:  Suppose you have something really important to say about trial and ADR – the practice, the philosophy, the skills, the law school revolution debates, or the practice ethics and professionalism, to name a few ideas.  You don’t need to write an entire article or book.  We want you as a guest blogger.  As you increase the frequency of your guest blogs, you may even become a regular NITA blog contributor.  Contact our blogmaster Travis Caldwell to enter the NITA blogosphere, or just send him your proposed posting for review.

Your Viewpoint:  Don’t have time to write a blog post?  Comment on the blog topics we are already posting. Our topics range far beyond straight-up trial skills; they explore the life and experience of being a trial lawyer or ADR professional.  In February, for example, during Black History Month, we are running a series on race in the courtroom.  With three terrific posts up or soon to be posted, we will complete the series with an intense and inspirational video interview with Judge Harrell of the Colorado County Court.   In March we will address gender in the courtroom.  Join the conversation!  Or post your own tips on the LinkedIn Group page.

At NITA we are exciting, innovative, fresh, funny, collaborative, and serious about expanding trial skills across the country.  Watch NITA Notes online, and stay up-to-date with our blog, The Legal Advocate.

And write to me if you want to chat!






Karen M. Lockwood

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 Goal is 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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