As an immigration defense lawyer, you know that practicing in immigration court is increasingly rife with hurdles and complexity. The National Institute for Trial Advocacy recognizes this reality and, in response, has developed Advocacy in Immigration Matters, a specialized program designed to help you rapidly upgrade your skills in representing those facing removal from the United States. Unlike other immigration law trainings you may have attended, the emphasis at NITA is on "learning by doing." This one-of-a-kind program is well beyond a lecture-focused learning experience.
During this three-day program, you will perform case analysis, make and meet objections, conduct direct, cross, and re-direct examinations, learn how to use exhibits, and offer a concise yet compelling closing argument, all in small groups of your peers. The instructors — some of the most experienced trial lawyers in the country — will share constructive feedback and specific ideas on how to refine your skills. As you watch your peers perform, you will also absorb the "teachable moments" from their performance and instructor critique, which means each layer of learning is continually reinforced by what you hear, see, and most importantly, do. In addition, each day includes lectures and faculty demonstration of each skill.
In just three days, this Advocacy in Immigration Matters program — as with the other time-tested, premier programming that NITA is known for — will swiftly refine your trial practice, leaving you with greater skill and confidence that shows up where it matters the most: when you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your client in the courtroom.
"In the over twenty years I had the honor to serve as an Immigration Judge, I frequently saw attorneys who, although bright, dedicated and familiar with their clients’ cases, had very limited understanding of evidentiary rules, proper forms of direct and cross examination, effective story-telling, and the art of closing argument. These basic trial skills are not usually part of a law school curriculum, and once engaged in the practice of law most attorneys do not take the time to develop or hone their skills, other than by “trial and error” which is, sadly, sometimes at the expense of their clients. The NITA program provides a unique opportunity to develop these extremely important skills. I encourage those who are seeking to represent asylum seekers in Immigration Court to consider taking advantage of this unique and valuable opportunity."
- Hon. Eliza C. Klein
United States Immigration Judge (Retired)
"Trial advocacy in our United States Immigration Courts is a skill to be acquired. Proper preparation prevents poor performance! And proper preparation and presentation of your asylum case are vital to the vulnerable population of the asylum seeker. Where these cases are generally adversarial, it is incumbent that you know how to navigate the immigration court system; that you know the rules of the court, that you know how to create a complete record, lay foundation, present evidence, examine witnesses, and make cogent arguments. And where credibility is so critically important, you must help your client and witnesses present a credible story through testimony and corroborative evidence. The NITA training program will help you achieve these goals through its learning by doing. And at the end of the training program with your new trial skills, you will be able to present the very best case for your client."
- Hon. John F. Gossart, Jr.
United States Immigration Judge (Retired)
Note: The Immigration Court Practice Manual and — although only guiding, not binding — the Federal Rules of Evidence govern these exercises. Prior to the program, we request that you view online presentations about advocacy skills and thoroughly read the case file and suggested legal authority.
Catholic Legal Immigrant Network, Inc
Silver Spring, MD
See Full Bio
Pearl Schneider Young LLC
Carol M King Law Office
Thurgood Marshall Sch of Law
Sugar Land, TX
Johnson Knudson, LLC
Sitterly Law Firm
Denver District Court
You may check in for the program from 8:00 - 8:30 am on March 31. The program will start promptly at 8:30 am on that date and will conclude at April 2 at 6:00 pm. The program will be held at:
National Institute for Trial Advocacy Education Center
1685 38th St. Suite 200
Boulder, CO 80301
We recommend the following hotels for your stay. Attendees are responsible for booking their own hotel reservations.
Residence Inn Boulder
3030 Center Green Drive
Boulder, CO 80301
The Denver International Airport (DIA) is about 1 hour from Boulder.
The Boulder Super Shuttle has an airport shuttle that goes between DIA and Boulder and is open daily from 5:00 am until 12:00 midnight. The cost is around $25.00 one-way or $46.00 round-trip to any Hotel in the area. For more information, please call 303.227.0000. (Note: Travel time may be up to 2 hours.)
The Green Ride Boulder has airport shuttles that run between DIA and Boulder as well. The cost is approximately $25 one-way and $48 round-trip. They have a pick-up and drop-off depot right by the Homewood Suites Boulder Hotel for quick and convenient service. For more information, please call 303.997.0238.
Taxi service is also available at level 5 of the airport. There is a stand with cabs available. The cost is approximately $85.00. Union Cabs can be ordered by calling 303.922.2222.
Parking at the hotels and facility are free.
Lunch will be provided one of the days, snacks and refreshments will be provided every day of the program.
All states have different MCLE requirements. Please make sure that the state(s) you require credit for were either noted in your registration or communicated to the Program Specialist prior to the start of the program. NITA will not apply to states for course approval after the start of the program. Please note that if you do not complete the program in its entirety, some states do not award partial credit.
For an estimate of credit hours by program type, please see below.States Based on a 50 Minute Credit Hour:
States Based on a 60 Minute Credit Hour:
Trial Program: 30-63 Credits
Deposition Program: 13-21 Credits
Specialty Program: 7-20 Credits
If you need to know the exact number of credits for a specific program please contact your Program Specialist.
Program materials will be e-mailed approximately four weeks prior to program's commencement. Please remember to bring these materials with you. If you have not received your materials 2 weeks before the program please notify the Program Coordinator.
Pre-program preparation requires that you become familiar with the FACTS associated with the case file and/or problems. In order to get the maximum benefit from the program, it is imperative that you prepare as much as possible in advance as time for preparation during the program is extremely limited. Please refer to the Program Schedule for assignment details to prepare for your performances in each workshop.
Every participant will be asked to serve as a witness during the program. Your advanced reading should focus not only on reviewing the case materials but also in becoming familiar enough with the facts so you can play each of the witnesses listed in the program schedule. Withouteveryone's advance preparation the learning experience will be diminished. Please prepare to help your fellow participants as they are preparing to make your performances better.
Be recognized for your NITA training! Achieving a NITA Designation allows you to demonstrate your expertise to clients and colleagues. Upon completion of your required coursework, NITA will send you a letter, certificate and an e-mail with a special graphic logo attached. Use these documents to demonstrate your advocacy knowledge through your website, advertising, etc. The NITA Designation logo will also be added to your Martindale-Hubble profile.
The required courses for the NITA Advocate Designation include one building trial skills course, one deposition skills course and one specialty course. The courses can be purchased individually but we also offer discounted package pricing.
(Total price if programs are purchased individually: $7135)
"I thought it was excellent. I learned so much in just seven days and saw a marked improvement in my trial skills. The faculty were highly knowledgeable and engaged and gave a lot of really helpful feedback and advice."Charles Zagnoli, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"Terrific course and faculty! I have been recommending the course non-stop."Jared Watkins, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"This course was fantastic, I am so glad that I was able to attend. This was a very intensive course but was well worth the time and effort."Lauren Shoffner, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"Exceptional. This experience exceeded my expectations. It pushed me way beyond my comfort zone, and I grew as a lawyer as a result."Stacy Robinson, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"It was an amazing course. I learned a lot not only on a professional level, but also on a personal level."Mujdah Rahim, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"During that week you [NITA Faculty Member] taught me more than just skills to use in the courtroom, you helped me gain confidence that I had lost somewhere along the way. You reminded me why I love the practice of family law and advocating for my clients...You made me a better attorney and restored the desire to continue to strive to be and do better every day."Keela Johnson, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"One of the best NITA courses I have attended. The teacher/student ratio was great. The small group size really makes a difference."Daniel Lindsay, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"This was a fantastic course. I loved how approachable the instructors were and how there was a genuine feeling of them wanting to help and not just criticize."Joshua Bishop, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"This NITA course significantly surpassed my expectations. I learned a lot about the subject of trial advocacy and about myself. I really appreciated the emphasis on not trying to fit into a "perfect trial lawyer" personality type, but rather how to use your real personality to be an effective trial lawyer."Bryony Coiner, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"I learned more than I ever expected, and that week has been a huge factor in my readiness for my upcoming cases... I wouldn’t have the confidence and comfort that I have heading into these trials without NITA."Cary Bricker, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"I really enjoyed the NITA seminar, and it was well worth the investment in my education. The level of talent in each group as well as the really positive environment NITA creates was impressive. I learned a lot, and learned a lot about myself. I genuinely feel I grew in skills that I'm positive will help in my career. I'm left wanting to take another class!"Arturo Zepeda, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"Amazing course. I am a brand new attorney, and this training gave me a strong foundation for trial. Any attorney in my position should attend."Alex Breckenridge, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"OW! NITA delivers! This was the best decision I made. You all have perfected this program. I will forever be grateful to the faculty and program directors that ran this course. You are ALL exceptional! THANK YOU!"Shadbanou Azad, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"This course has far exceeded my expectations in every way. So impressed!"Benjamin Dodge, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"I am amazed at how much I was able to learn about myself, new techniques and effective case presentation. I gained more from this seminar than I ever thought possible, and I think this course is vital for any lawyer who finds themselves in a courtroom."Mallory Deckard, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"Suitable for all levels of trial experience. Everybody can learn something at this course."Marsha Dailey, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"It is apparent to me, and was apparent to many of us in our discussions throughout the week, that a great deal of time and attention went into the thinking, planning, preparing and executing of the week-long program. Each day was filled with new staff and new challenges."David Rashid, 2018 NITA Program Participant
"I survived and even thrived in the NITA Trial Advocacy program. I feel like I improved by leaps and bounds (although I still have a lot to learn). The criminal law team leader, Cathryn Crawford, was wonderful, always providing helpful constructive criticism with a smile. And the faculty (Judge Michael Washington, Terry Campbell, Tod Urban and Presita West) was first rate. They provided great feedback with real world perspective. (As an aside, I'd follow Judge Washington into battle any day!) In the final trial, I represented the defendant accused of commercial arson. It was a lot of work to prepare, but what an exhilarating ending to a great week! I have wanted to attend the program for many years and I wasn't disappointed!"Cheryl Bonner, 2019 Program Participant
"This was a great experience. I walked away more confident in my trial skills... the faculty members were the best part of the experience! They were truly amazing. I honestly wish I could repeat the program and grow even more."Kara Goodman, 2018 NITA Program Participant