The Legal Advocate

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

All posts by Marsi Buckmelter

Give to the NITA Foundation this Quarter

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When you give to the NITA Foundation, 100 percent of every dollar you donate is spent on the mission work that fulfills our goal of including public service lawyers in those who benefit from NITA’s training. As this quarter comes to a close next week, we’d love to count on your support of the NITA Foundation and its important work of awarding scholarship assistance and creating programs for applicants working in careers that meet our public service attorney training objectives. This work is impossible without help from loyal donors like you.

Since 2003, the NITA Foundation has disbursed over $3.3 million in support of our programs and scholarships. There are so many ways to give—cash donations, memorial or honorary gifts, stock donations, planned giving, and even donations of your NITA teaching proceeds or NITA book royalties—and each way helps us award program scholarships to public services lawyers, provide NITA training programs in the public sector, defray travel expenses for program participants, and ensure the rule of law and access to justice in emerging democracies through our international programs. Visit to make a secure online gift and learn more about how you can help.

Point Well Made Indeed

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We knew last fall when NITA faculty Nancy Vaidik and Rebecca Diaz-Bonilla submitted their manuscript for Point Well Made: Oral Advocacy in Motion Practice we had something special on our hands that would fill a knowledge gap in the world of trial advocacy—namely, how to prepare for and optimize your time before the bench in a motion hearing. It was gratifying, then, when we received word from a practitioner in the field to confirm that notion.

Mary E. Levy, Practice Professor of Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law, reviewed the book for the Beasley’s advocacy blog (here). She noted:

Point Well Made is . . . a great resource for law professors and other legal educators who teach in the areas of trial advocacy, oral advocacy, or motions practice. It contains excellent examples, exercises, and suggestions that can be easily incorporated into the classroom or other legal training. In sum, Point Well Made is a valuable resource that provides both law students and practitioners with significant advice and tools for successfully arguing motions.

NITA shares a deep history with Temple, as many of our past and present faculty and authors have been based at Beasley School of Law, including David Sonenshein, Tony Bocchino, JoAnne Epps, Sara Jacobson, Ken Jacobson, and Jules Epstein. Our thanks go to Temple Beasley for its ongoing interest in NITA publications, and to Professor Levy for spending time reading and reviewing Point Well Made.

To learn more about how to make the most of your motion hearings, we invite you to tune into Delivering a (Last-Minute) Point Well Made, the webcast Judge Vaidik and Ms. Diaz-Bonilla recorded in Boulder last month for NITA’s studio71. This free, hour-long recording is a fantastic introduction to the preparation and delivery techniques you’ll learn from their book. You’ll come away with tips and tricks that you can put into practice immediately and get a good sense of what other insider pointers and advice you can expect to discover in Point Well Made.

While you’re at it, be sure to read Help Me Help You, by Judge Vaidik, and Eating Humble Pie, by Ms. Diaz-Bonilla, two articles that were part of The Legal Advocate’s series on motion practice last month.

Hughes Hubbard, NITA Collaborate on Federal Trial Practice Guide

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Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) are pleased to announce the release of a new guide for federal court trial lawyers.

Entitled “Playing To Win: Appellate Preservation for Trial Lawyers in Federal Court,” the guide is co-authored by Hughes Hubbard lawyers Robb Patryk, Ross Lipman, and Jonathan Misk and addresses appellate preservation rules, techniques, and case law applicable to every stage of trial.

“Hughes Hubbard presented NITA with an informative and engaging discussion on federal trial practice, and we are excited to make this guide, the product of their hard work, available to those in our NITA family who practice in federal courts,” said Jennifer Schneider, Director of Publishing and Digital Content at NITA.

The guide is free of charge as a courtesy to trial lawyers on Hughes Hubbard’s and NITA’s websites and their respective social media platforms. Click here to download.

About Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Hughes Hubbard is a New York City-based international law firm that offers clients results-focused legal services and a collaborative approach across a broad range of practices. Hughes Hubbard was founded in 1888 by the distinguished jurist and statesman Charles Evans Hughes and is renowned for its trial and appellate practice in complex cases, including litigation involving issues related to product liability and toxic torts, antitrust and competition, corporate reorganization, international arbitration, and patent and intellectual property. For more information, visit

Do You Know How to Handle a Media Crisis Related to Your Case?

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Last month, NITA hosted communications specialist Richard S. Levick for “How Lawyers Handle Media in a Time of Crisis, a free, one-hour webcast.

In the Internet age, courtroom victories are Pyrrhic if the client’s reputation and bottom line are savaged by day’s end. The “media” is no longer just beat reporters from the local newspaper; the “media” is now anyone who owns a mobile phone. The lawyer’s job now is more challenging than ever, managing these massive audiences with one eye on the jury pool and the other on consumers and shareholders. This program provides trial lawyers with guidance on effectively doing just that and effectively anticipating what’s next.

Mr. Levick is an experienced public relations professional and spokesperson. He and his colleagues at Levick, Inc. regularly write substantive articles about media management for the firm’s blog, which you can check out here.

Intrigued? It’s never too late to catch this webcast. Register now and watch at your leisure.

Excited Utterance: April 27, 2017

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The Legal Advocate’s semi-regular roundup of legal news and views you might have missed.

The Fitbit murder: one more “brave new world” way technology is changing the conduct of legal investigations, trials, and outcomes. (CNN)

Justice Breyer finds out the hard way he gets four bars on the bench. (Washington Post)

A first for the nation: an ABA-accredited law school shutters its program. (Los Angeles Times)

Tongues are already wagging about the next SCOTUS nominee. (The Hill)

Speaking of the Supreme Court, have you listened to “More Perfect,” a wonderful little podcast series about curiosities of the Court, yet? (WNYC)

Slippin’ Jimmy McGill takes one step closer to Saul Goodman—and in the process acquires a fool for a client. (New York Times)

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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