National Institute for Trial Advocacy

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Help Someone Attend A NITA Course


The NITA Foundation provides scholarships to trial lawyers who work in public service or are in need of financial assistance because we believe lawyers who are well trained in courtroom advocacy enhance the administration of justice for everyone.

Gifts to the General Scholarship Fund provide much-needed scholarships for lawyers who otherwise would not be able to attend a NITA program. Our criteria to qualify for a scholarship include a demonstrating a commitment to serve underrepresented populations, working at a non-profit or legal aid office, and demonstrating financial need. Currently, The NITA Foundation is able to award scholarships to two out of every three public service applicants. Every dollar we receive brings us closer to reaching our goal of 100 percent fulfillment.

Scholarship applications may be downloaded here and emailed to for consideration.


At least one Robert VanderLaan Memorial Scholarship will be awarded, based on financial need, each year to cover tuition, travel, and lodging to attend a NITA program at which Bob taught.

Bob VanderLaan was a gifted lawyer and a master teacher of trial advocacy, a facilitator, a negotiator, and a relentless advocate for his clients. Whether he was coaching basketball, mentoring his daughters, or teaching trial skills to NITA students (something he did for nearly 35 years), his energy knew no bounds. Bob’s warmth and charm were legendary.

To read more about Bob VanderLaan, click here and here. An interview with Shameka Hall, the first recipient of the Robert VanderLaan Memorial Scholarship is available here.


The Bill Keating Scholarship is awarded a lawyer to attend a NITA program, preferably the Rocky Mountain Deposition program. Strong preference is given to solo practitioners doing plaintiff work who would otherwise be unable to attend a NITA program.

A NITA friend and faculty member, William “Bill” Lawrence Keating, passed away in early 2015. People described the Broncos player turned lawyer as warm, funny, and caring. He was a great lawyer: fearless, courageous, smart, fair, and devoted to his clients. The Bill Keating Memorial Scholarship was created by friends at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

To read more about Bill Keating, click here and here.


Named in honor of Jim and Beverly Carrigan, this scholarship funds one recipient's attendance at a NITA program. Funds are awarded to a recipient who meets NITA’s need-based qualification, giving strong preference to a lawyer in public service such as a deputy district attorney or public defender.

Jim Carrigan, one of NITA’s founders and a brilliant lawyer, judge, and leader and a proud Colorado native, passed away in 2014. Throughout his work in private practice, being a law professor, and becoming a U.S. district court judge, Carrigan’s 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.

To read more about Jim Carrigan, click here and here.


The Jim Jeans Scholarship Fund gives one public service attorney the opportunity to attend the National Session, NITA’s premier training program.
Jim Jeans was one of NITA’s pioneers, a lawyer well-known for his brilliant storytelling and teaching style. He was a member of the original NITA faculty at the 1972 National Program, along with Pren Marshall, Jim Carrigan, and Bob Keeton and remained a steadfast NITA faculty member and supporter until his passing. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, a gift of $50,000 began an endowment fund in memory of Jim Jeans.


Named for Arkansas lawyer Alston Jennings, this annual scholarship enables a recipient to recieve training at a NITA program that would be out of reach without financial assistance.

Alton Jennings was an invaluable member of the NITA faculty and former member of NITA’s Board of Trustees. He fought tirelessly to improve the skills of attorneys, especially those working on behalf of the underserved and disenfranchised. After his passing in 2004, the trustees of The Alston Jennings Foundation, Inc. created this scholarship to celebrate his memory and commitment to the community.


Gifts to the Annual Fund support The NITA Foundation’s financial pipeline that serves mission-based needs, including scholarship assistance to lawyers who represent underserved populations or who are in financial need, and funding for public service programs. As with all other donations to The NITA Foundation, zero donated dollars go to management and general, administrative, or fundraising costs.


Giving to the Public Service Program Fund supports advocacy training programs that are specifically tailored for advocates who serve indigent or disadvantaged populations, including those working in legal aid, child advocacy, tribal court, criminal law, and domestic violence. As with all other donations to The NITA Foundation, zero donated dollars go to management and general, administrative, or fundraising costs.


Plant a seed for the future.......

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Each year, The NITA Foundation’s donations and grants for educational scholarships are limited in comparison to our applicants’ needs. In 2017, we awarded 116 scholarships—but, in turn, left 65 scholarship applications unfulfilled due to our limited resources. Your support helps us narrow that gap.

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Planned giving is a legacy gift that enables you to invest in your values through a bequest while continuing to meet your income needs and provide for your heirs. Talk with us about donating through outright gifts, stock holdings, life insurance, or a retirement/401(k) plan. We can also collaborate with a group of donors to create a perpetual scholarship fund in memory of a beloved colleague.

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Do you want to give back in a way that puts you face to face with the impact you’re making? Consider joining NITA as a faculty member so you can teach at our programs and work with the trial lawyers whose skills you’re helping develop. Click below to start the application process.


About The NITA Foundation


Hand in hand with NITA, The NITA Foundation leverages our dedicated volunteer staff with donations, ally organizations, and resources designated for scholarships and public service programs. Together, we are able to train lawyers advocating for underrepresented members of our society, as well as those abroad.


Scholarship winners describe, in their own words, what receiving a NITA Foundation scholarship has meant to them and their clients. Click here to read our “Asked and Answered” interviews to read about the impact your gift makes.


Promoting justice through effective and ethical courtroom advocacy has long been at the heart of NITA’s mission. We know that when lawyers on both sides of the aisle practice with the high level of competence that NITA training provides, it’s really our system of justice that benefits the most, because the playing field becomes level for all who find themselves on it. To apply for a public program scholarship, click here.

In the same way that having a skilled trial lawyer should not be a means test for anyone who must appear before the court, we at NITA believe being a skilled trial lawyer shouldn’t be subject....

Together We Do More!


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