The Legal Advocate

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

Category Archives: Programs

NITA Takes on Boulder’s Mystery Box

Posted On By

prgsMysteryBoxAs Halloween approaches, the Program Specialist Team here at NITA decided to take a little trip to the Mystery Box in Boulder. According to their website, Mystery Box’s Escape Room is designed to challenge your mind while help with team building skills in a race against the clock! Groups of 8 are locked in the room for one hour and must try to maneuver their way out by solving puzzles and finding clues.

According to Program Specialist Christine McHugh, the experience was one to remember. “Go team NITA! The Program Specialist Team had a wonderful team building adventure at Boulder Escape Room. Although the team did not make it out in time they had a great time and are looking forward to another challenge.”

If you and your friends think you can make it out of the Escape Room in time, visit the Mystery Box website to learn more!


Meet NITA’s Upcoming Program Directors

Posted On By

Deposition Skills: Indianapolis
November 4, 2015 thru November 6, 2015
Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel

Ed Sullivan
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
Program Director

Ed Sullivan has extensive and varied experience in litigation and in advising Indiana public schools, private businesses and individuals on managing risks and resolving disputes. On behalf of his clients, Ed has litigated disputes to a jury, to a judge, to arbitration panels and administrative bodies and has argued before the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court. As part of his practice, Ed routinely resolves disputes for his clients through mediations and through direct negotiation.

Learn more about NITA’s Deposition Skills Program in Indianapolis here.

Deposition Skills: Bay Area and Deposing the Expert Witness
November 6, 2015 thru November 9, 2015
UC Berkeley School of Law & Hotel Durant

Henry Brown
University of San Francisco Law School
Program Director

As director of advocacy programs at USF, Assistant Professor Brown oversees all advocacy programs, both trial and appellate. He has taught at numerous law schools, including Stanford Law School and UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. His courses include: Evidence, Law & Literature, and Constitutional Law.

Thomas Leach
Pacific McGeorge School of Law
Program Director

Professor Jay Leach is a tenured professor in the Pacific McGeorge’s award-winning trial advocacy program. Professor Leach has significant experience in trial and alternative dispute resolution settings. His scholarly interests are focused on evidence, advocacy in comparative perspective, and the teaching of advocacy. He has lectured and taught in law schools in Italy, Chile, and China. He founded and directs Pacific McGeorge’s annual National Ethics Trial Competition, a nationally recognized event that draws 16-18 teams from top law schools across the U.S. to compete in mock trials.

Learn more about NITA’s Deposition Skills and Expert Witness Depositions Skills Program in the Bay Area.

Building Trial Skills: Philadelphia
November 7, 2015 thru November 13, 2015
Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City

Thomas Innes
Defender Assn of Philadelphia
Program Director

Tom Innes is a senior trial attorney with the Defender Association of Philadelphia. He has tried cases for the past thirty five years and was a member of the Defender Association Homicide/Capital Case Unit for six years. As such, he has tried many hundreds of bench trials and jury trials to verdict. Tom has guest lectured in the area of trial practice and litigation at a number of law schools including University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University School of Law, Temple University School of Law, NYU Law School, UNC – Chapel Hill. Tom has also lectured overseas, including lectures at University College Cork, National University of Ireland in Cork, Ireland and at Nagoya University School of Law in Okinawa, Japan. He has taught in the nationally recognized Temple University School of Law Masters in Trial Advocacy Program for the past twelve years.

Learn more about NITA’s Building Trial Skills Program in Philadelphia here.

Deposition Skills: Atlanta
November 13, 2015 thru November 15, 2015
Emory Univ School of Law

Paul Zwier
Emory University School of Law
Program Director

Paul J. Zwier is a professor at Emory University School of Law, where he directs the trial advocacy and litigation skills programs and teaches torts, evidence, and advanced negotiation, mediation, and international dispute resolution seminars. His most recent books in the litigation area is Effective Expert Testimony, 3rd. Ed. and in international dispute resolution is Principled Negotiation and Mediation in the International Arena: Talking with Evil (Cambridge University Press 2013). He has taught courses in advocacy, litigation skills, and ADR at more than 250 law firms and legal organizations in the U.S., and internationally in Africa, Canada, China, Great Britain, Guam, and Saipan. He also consults on ADR strategies as well as case theory and presentation in trial cases. Professor Zwier directs the Emory Deposition program as well as the Advocacy Teacher Training/Lawyer without Borders program in Kenya. Prior to joining the faculty at Emory, he was a professor of law and director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at the University of Tennessee Law School and a professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law. He has been a visiting professor of law at both William and Mary Law School and Temple University School of Law.

Learn more about NITA’s Deposition Skills Program in Atlanta here.

Deposition Skills: NYC
November 13, 2015 thru November 15, 2015
New York Law School

Marcia Levy
Pro Bono Partnership
Program Director

Levy has served as an assistant federal defender for the Federal Defender’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, and a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society Prisoners’ Rights Project. She was Counsel and now is Special Advisor to Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Task Force on Access to Civil Legal Services. She is a member of the NYC Bar Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and Corrections and Reentry, and served as the Chair of the AALS Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. She is a member of NALP’s Pro Bono and Professional Development Task Force. She has presented at numerous conferences, including PDI, and will be moderating a session at the NALP conference in April, 2013.

Learn more about NITA’s Deposition Skills Program in New York City here.

Deposition Skills: Arizona
November 19, 2015 thru November 21, 2015
Arizona State University

Daniel Dowd
Cohen Kennedy Dowd & Quigley
Program Director

Dan Dowd is the managing partner of Cohen Kennedy Dowd & Quigley. In 2007, Dan, Ron Cohen and Laura Kennedy obtained a $360 million verdict in a multi-week, hotly contested commercial tort trial. This is the second largest verdict in the history of the state of Arizona and the fourth largest in the U.S. in 2007. Dan has also been selected as a “Super Lawyer” in every edition of “Southwest Super Lawyers”, a peer-evaluated publication recognizing individuals ranked in the top five percent of lawyers practicing in their state. In 2011, Southwest Super Lawyers identified Dan as a member of “The Top Fifty” recognizing the Arizona lawyers who received the highest point totals in the review process. Dan is recognized in “Best Lawyers in America” 2010 – 2012 editions and has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. In 2010, Dan was inducted into “Arizona’s Finest Lawyers”, a peer-reviewed organization that limits membership to approximately six percent of the Arizona State Bar members. In 2011, The Litigation Counsel of America (“LCA”) selected Dan as a Fellow. The LCA is an invitation only trial lawyer honorary society and membership is limited to 3,500 Fellows, representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.

Learn more about NITA’s Deposition Skills Program in Arizona here.

Meet NITA’s Upcoming Program Directors

Posted On By

Building Trial Skills: Indianapolis
October 4, 2015 thru October 9, 2015
Indiana University School of Law

vaidik_nancyNancy Vaidik
Indiana Court of Appeals
Program Director

Nancy H. Vaidik was appointed to the Indiana Court of Appeals by Governor Frank O’Bannon on January 19, 2000. Prior to her elevation to the appellate court, Judge Vaidik served for 7 years as Judge of the Porter Superior Court. She began her legal career as a deputy prosecutor, achieving the status of chief deputy prosecutor before entering private practice.

As a private practitioner and prosecutor, Judge Vaidik tried nearly 100 jury trials. As a trial court judge, she presided over hundreds of jury and bench trials.

Judge Vaidik has had a life-long interest in legal education and particularly the litigation process. She currently teaches as an adjunct professor of law teaching trial advocacy at Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana. She also is a visiting professor with the College of Law of England and Wales and serves on its advisory board. She has also had the honor of teaching international criminal prosecutors at the United Nations’ criminal tribunal for Rwanda located in Arusha, Tanzania.

Vaidik is the former president of the Indiana Judge’s Association and the former chairperson for the Indiana Supreme Court’s Judicial Education Committee. She has also served on the advisory board member of the Indiana Women and Law Conference since its inception in 2000.

In 2007, Judge Vaidik was named an Indiana Lawyer Distinguished Barrister and received the National Institute for Trial Advocacy Robert Keeton Faculty Award. She has also received numerous other awards including the Indiana Domestic Violence Coalition Judge of the Year, the Indiana State Bar Association’s Women in Law Achievement Award, the Paragon of Justice award from the BLSA and HLSA chapters at Valparaiso University School of Law, and the Sagamore of the Wabash award from two Indiana governors.

Learn more about NITA’s Building Trial Skills Program in Indianapolis here.

Building Trial Skills: San Diego
October 10, 2015 thru October 16, 2015
Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa

Mary Jo Barr
San Diego County Public Defender
Program Director

Mary Jo began her practice in 1986 in San Diego, California, as an associate with a small plaintiffs and criminal defense firm. In 1989, Mary Jo joined the Office of the Public Defender for San Diego County where she was a member of the team responsible high profile media cases and homicides. There she developed relationships with local and national media representatives. Mary Jo’s experience as a trial lawyer and as a teacher made her the natural selection to be the office’s training deputy.

Her interest in teaching began when she was awarded a Prettyman fellowship at Georgetown School of Law School in 1988. Although she chose trial work over academics, she has been teaching since 1992. Mary Jo has taught lawyers and judges in Nigeria on behalf of the United States Department of Justice, in Japan for the Osaka Bar Association, in Canada for the Canadian Society for Advocacy and at the firm Borden,Ladner,and Gervais, and in both Ireland and Northern Ireland on behalf of NITA.

Mary Jo has also served as an adjunct professor at California School of Law and the University of San Diego School of Law in their advocacy programs.

Christopher Whitten
Superior Court
Program Director

He is the current Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s National Conference of State Trial Judges. As an ABA member Judge Whitten has served as the state trial judge conference’s liaison to the Commission on the American Jury Project, the Coalition for Justice, the Trial Court Time Standards Committee and the Advisory Group for Language Access to State Courts. He has also worked as part of the Judicial Division’s ad hoc committee reviewing proposed changes to the Model Code of Judicial Conduct for Judicial Disqualification and is the co-editor of the JD RECORD. He also represents his judicial colleagues from Maricopa County on the board of directors of the Arizona Judges Association.

Judge Whitten has taught as an adjunct professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, at Louisiana State University School of Law and at the Phoenix School of Law. He sits on the board of directors for the Arizona Trial College and regularly works with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy both nationally and internationally. He also frequently works with the University of San Diego, the Trans-Border Institute, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California and the Conference of Western Attorneys General training fellow Judges and lawyers in Mexico as they reform their judicial process.

Judge Whitten sits on committee that reviews ethical complaints made against lawyers for the Arizona State Bar and serves as the co-chair of the Maricopa County Bar Association’s Bench and Bar Committee.

Learn more about NITA’s Building Trial Skills in San Diego here.

Deposition Skills: Florida
October 15, 2015 thru October 17, 2015
Nova Southeastern School of Law

dale_mikeMichael Dale
Nova Southeastern University
Program Director

Michael J. Dale has been a member of the faculty at the Nova Southeastern University Law Center since 1985, teaching courses in family law, juvenile law and in the family and juvenile clinic. He also teaches litigation courses including civil procedure, conflicts of laws, intensive trial advocacy, judicial administration and international litigation. Before joining the Nova faculty Dale spent time in private law practice in Phoenix and was Executive Director of the Youth Law Center in San Francisco after serving as Attorney in Charge of the Special Litigation Unit of the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society of the City of New York. He has been a practicing lawyer specializing in civil rights litigation for 30 years. He is admitted to practice in the states of Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and New York as well as the United States Supreme Court and numerous federal appellate and district courts.

He has been a consultant to a number of federal and state agencies on civil rights issues and to law firms on litigation issues. Mr. Dale is also the author of over seventy articles focusing primarily on juvenile and children’s law topics. Professor Dale is also the author of the two volume text, Representing the Child Client, published by Matthew Bender Co. He speaks regularly to professional groups on children’s law and litigation topics.

flynn_michaelMichael Flynn
Nova Southeastern School of Law
Program Director

Michael Flynn is a professor of law at the Nova Southeastern University Law School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Professor Flynn hails from the State of Washington, where he received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, and his law degree, cum laude.

Learn more about NITA’s Deposition Skills Program in Florida here.

Working To Help Achieve Justice In The New Mexico Criminal Justice System

Posted On By

written by guest blogger and NITA Program Director William Elward

A broad range of our ace NITA instructors have donated their time to assist in the first Trial Advocacy Training Program to be conducted in Albuquerque New Mexico August 18 – 20th. This three day program will train both prosecutors and public defenders in trial skills including theory of the case, opening statements, direct examination, cross-examination, impeachment, exhibits, and closing argument. Working with local prosecutors and defense counsel, this program is tailored to provide the finest on your feet training NITA has—learning by doing in a real courtroom atmosphere.

NITA’s teaching method has been successful for over forty years because of learning by doing—getting lawyers on their feet and practicing with focused critiques by experienced trial advocacy instructors is the quickest way for attorneys to gain the skills and confidence to succeed in the fast-paced environment of a criminal courtroom.

The faculty includes some of NITA’s absolute finest teachers, including a number of award winning advocacy teachers and members of NITA’s next Generation instructor team. Local superstar attorneys Joleen Youngers, Molly Schmidt- Nowara, and Shannon Kennedy combine forces with NITA stalwarts Michael Johnson, Amy Hanley, J.C. Lore and Steve Wood to make up our faculty for this intensive three day program. The mission of this Dream Team is to help these public service lawyers achieve the right results in court. Since prosecutors do justice by seeking to speak on behalf of the innocent victims of crime, and because public defenders fight a never ending battle to speak for citizens who cannot afford counsel, our faculty have volunteered their time to make this program a success. Participants will be learning using the NITA file of State v. Jackson, an arson case that many of us know better as Flinders v. Mismo. Bill Elward is the program director.

NITA’s role in this program is direct product of our Board of Trustee’s commitment to offering public service programs. NITA is dedicated to helping provide training for under-represented areas, and is proud to assist in this essential training of public service advocates.

Meet NITA’s Upcoming Program Directors

Posted On By

Building Trial Skills: Seattle
September 8, 2015 thru September 13, 2015
University of Washington Sch of Law

Johnson_MichaelMichael Johnson
UALR School of Law
Program Director

Michael Johnson is a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law. He teaches Evidence, Criminal Law, White Collar Crime, Trial Advocacy and Advanced Trial Advocacy. He also coaches the National Trial Advocacy Competition team.

Learn more about NITA’s Building Trial Skills Program in Seattle here.

Persuasive Power in the Courtroom
September 10, 2015 thru September 11, 2015
SMU Dedman School of Law

Mann_DavidDavid Mann
High Stakes Presenting
Program Director

David Mann specializes in persuasive presentation skills and storytelling. A theater artist for over three decades, David now trains attorneys and business professionals how to use performance and storytelling techniques to win. He has spoken at Fortune 500 events nationwide, inspiring groups to use the power of storytelling and effective delivery to get results every time.
As a persuasive presentation specialist for lawyers, David has taught with NITA, Professional Education Group, Loyola School of Law in Chicago, and Louisiana State University Law School. He works with private firms in Minneapolis, Pennsylvania, and Chicago to develop opening statements, motions, and demand letters that combine careful wording, engaging storytelling, and dynamic delivery. With David’s storytelling guidance, lawyers are armed with powerfully persuasive arguments that win.

Learn more about NITA’s Persuasive Power in the Courtroom here.

Deposition To Trial: Minnesota
September 12, 2015 thru September 18, 2015
William Mitchell College of Law

Sonsteng_JohnJohn Sonsteng
William Mitchell College of Law
Program Director

Learn more about NITA’s Minnesota Deposition To Trial Program here.

Robert F. Hanley Advanced Trial Skills
September 29, 2015 thru October 3, 2015
San Francisco, CA

Schoenberger_RichardRichard Schoenberger
Walkup Melodia Kelly et al
Program Director

Richard H Schoenberger is one of the most highly respected trial lawyers in California. In 2011, he was selected as the Trial Lawyer of the Year by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. It was his second nomination for this prestigious award. Rich has been included in the national publication The Best Lawyers in America since 2005 and has been a Super Lawyer in Northern California for every year the designation has existed. He was selected to be in the Top 100 Super Lawyers in Northern California for the years 2010 and 2011. He is “AV” peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

He is an invited member of the most prestigious trial lawyer organizations in the country: the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellowship extended only to a select group of experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards; the International Society of Barristers, an honor society of trial lawyers chosen by their peers on the basis of excellence and integrity in advocacy; and, the American Board of Trial Advocates, where he serves as an officer and chaired the San Francisco Chapter’s 2009 Masters In Trial program.

Learn more about NITA’s Robert F. Hanley Advanced Trial Skills Program here.

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.
Feature Products

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: