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American Bar Association
ABA Section of Family Law

25th Annual ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute
May 21-28, 2011
Boulder, CO


The 2011 Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute will take place May 21-28, 2011, in Boulder, CO, and is a joint project of the ABA Section of Family Law and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

One of the best experiences of my professional life. —Susan Pepitone, Forest Hills, NY

Advanced Institute: May 25-28, 2011

Registration is now open! Register for Basic (Weeklong) Institute or Advanced Institute.

California and Florida Attorneys: The ABA/NITA Family Law TAI courses (basic/advanced) count towards certification in marital and family law specialization.

Interested in becoming a faculty member for future Institutes? Download the application.

Course Information

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the worldwide leader in advocacy skills training. NITA brings its forty years of educational leadership to bear in this specialized program for family law practitioners.

In the Basic (weeklong) TAI, participants work in groups of six or eight in a simulated courtroom environment. Students take an active role in their learning by honing their trial skills through performance and constructive feedback from instructors. Lectures and demonstrations are kept to a minimum as everyone learns through hands-on experience. Many exercises are recorded and reviewd in one-on-one session with an instructor. A special expert in communications and theater techniques counsels each participant in a private half-hour session.

Law schools and other CLE providers have adopted NITA teaching methods for their own programs. At the Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute, you experience the cutting-edge of advocacy teaching from those who developed the process. The program, and its faculty, demand a lot from each participant. It in intensive, fast-paced, and literally provides years of experience.

The Advanced Trial Advocacy Institute is a four-day program which builds upon Institute curriculum. The Advanced program allows for even more in-depth training on the direct and cross-examination of either mental health experts or financial experts. With limited space, there is even more time for specific practice and constructive feedback.

The 2011 Advanced program will focus on financial experts. The topics covered include:

  • testing methodology
  • testing reliability
  • testing validity
  • how to direct and cross examine an expert on these topics
Other topics will be addressed in this workshop-format program. Participants will receive significant amounts of individualized instruction and will have the opportunity to develop and practice detailed examinations on an expert.


I would wholeheartedly recommend this Institute for any family-law lawyer desiring to absolutely enhance their advocacy. Results are guaranteed. —Angela Tiritilli, Omaha, NE

The Advocacy Institute is open to a limited group of no more than forty-eight (48) participants. Educational focus of the Advocacy Institute is for practicing lawyers at the beginner and intermediate levels. Those admitted to participate in the program must be admitted to the active practice of law in at least one jurisdiction.

Advanced Program
Registration in the Advanced Program is limited to no more than twelve practitioners. Admission into the Advanced Program is limited to graduates of the ABA Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute or one of NITA's Basic Trial Skills Programs.

Program Schedule

The Trial Advocacy Institute consists of an entire week of intensive training. A complete program schedule (from 2010) is linked below. Standard programming includes Direct and Cross Examination, Use of Psychological Testing, Examination of Financial Experts, Business Valuation Advocacy, and a complete trial. A combination of lecture, demonstration, exercise and video review are used in instruction.


The Institute's team of instructors is comprised of trial lawyers, judges, law teachers, and financial and psychological experts. Each member of the team was selected because of his or her skills as advocate, expert, and teacher. All are versed in NITA's teaching methods and bring a wealth of experience to the classroom. Each participant will receive the benefit of years of experience, insight, and expertise as they receive personally tailored comments designed to improve their skills.

Still not sure what our faculty can offer you? Check out the testimonials (at right) for comments from past TAI attendees.

Faculty biographies will be posted soon.

CLE Credit

Accreditation is requested for the weeklong program from every state with MCLE requirements. Lawyers seeking credit in Pennsylvania and Louisiana must submit a certificate and pay fees directly to those states. Based on a 60-minute hour scale, it is anticipated that participants of the basic trial program will receive 44.25 hours of credit and one hour of ethics. Attendees of the advanced program may earn 26.08 hours of credit.

California and Florida Attorneys: The ABA/NITA Family Law TAI courses (basic/advanced) count towards certification in marital and family law specialization.


The program sponsors have made special lodging arrangements for participants. Information about lodging will be provided upon admission into the program.


Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute
Tuition for the 2011 weeklong program is $3150, with a special discounted rate of $2950 for ABA Section of Family Law members and is payable in full at the time of acceptance into the program. This fee includes attendance at all workshop sessions and individual sessions with specialist instructors, course materials, textbooks, daily lunches and refreshments, transportation between the hotel and the program location, and a graduation luncheon. (Travel, lodging, and other meals are not included in tuition and are the responsibility of individual participants.)

Advanced Institute
Tuition for the 2011 Advanced Institute is $3150, with a special discounted rate of $2950 for ABA Section of Family Law members. This fee includes all program-related benefits as outlined above; it does not include travel, lodging, or other meals.

Group Discounts
Group discounts are available. Please contact NITA at 1-800-225-6482 to secure these special rates when registering more than two participants.


Don't get wait-listed; register now!

(Please note that you will be leaving the ABA site and registering from the NITA website.)

The American Bar Association is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN, 37219-2417. Web site: www.nasba.org.

25th Annual Trial Advocacy Institute

Become a more effective trial lawyer by investing in 7 days!

May 21 - 28, 2011
Boulder, CO

Build your self-assurance as you master the skills and techniques for success at trial. Over the course of seven days, you will gain experience and knowledge in:

*Developing a persuasive story of your case

*Helping a witness present their factual story through direct examination

*Showing why a witness is biased, mistaken, or wrong through powerful, pointed cross examination

*Organizing your case to tell a powerful story that iillustrates the wrong to your client and how to make it right

*Eliminating clutter to give the fact finder the critical information needed for a successful decision in your client's favor

*Mastering legal argument for motions and closing to marshal the facts and tell the fact finder what you want and why you deserve it

*Opening your case in a way that makes the fact finder want to know more and lean in your favor

*Working with Mental Health and Financial Experts to effectively deliver information during direct, and illustrate flaws, bias, and faulty theories during cross

*Effectively preparing witnesses and using your expert to enhance your understanding of business valuation or psychological assessments

Additional Information
Jim Lawrence
Blakely Advocacy Institute
100 Law Center
Houston, TX 77204-6060
Tel: 713.743.2067
Fax: 713.743.2097
Email: JLawrence@Central.UH.EDU


*We* know how valuable the Institute can be for your professional development, but don't just take our word for it. Following are more testimonials from past attendees:

    "The course improved my knowledge and my confidence. I would recommend it to lawyers at all experience levels."
    --John Adam Lazor (Los Angeles, CA)

    "This program not only made me a better trial lawyer, it made me a better lawyer period."
    --John Thurston (Manhattan, KS)

    "Exceptional faculty working closely with us through key aspects of the trial experience--I would highly recommend it."
    --Paige Quilliam (Niantic, CT)

    "The feedback and constructive criticism from each faculty member was invaluable. The level of personal attention was unlike anything I have ever experienced."
    --Jeffrey Koontz (Dana Point, CA)

    "Essential training for anyone interested in becoming a family law litigator!"
    --Paula J. Swensen (Newport Beach, CA)

    "The beginning seemed so overwhelming...the end result was so phenomenal! I feel like a superior attorney by attending the program. I hope another phase is offered."
    --Marie Moreno Myers (Riverside, CA)

Quality Faculty.
Quality Students.
Quality Program.
—Jeff Alter
Englewood, CO


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